Our local theatre in Ealing, the Questors Playhouse, is once again the focus for a fun, family pantomime, following Mother Goose in 2017 and Sleeping Beauty in 2018. Expect children singing and dancing, a large amount of popular songs, a traditional Dame – this time Maid Marion’s nanny! – a principal boy, and a hissable villain.

Lisa Morris is in fine thigh-slapping feckle as the titular Robin Hood, with Lily Ledwith as a winsome Marion. James Goodden returns to the volumnious skirts of the Dame role after a year’s break, and he’s a definite draw, putting across a couple of songs and engaging the audience with a pursing lip and an edge-of-hysterics personality.

Regular Questors company lead Mike Hadjipateras makes an impact as Friar Tuck, with youngster Emerson Balgent making a seamless transition from the youth company to this one as Alan-A-Dale. As the Thatcherite Sheriff(ess) of Nottingham, Kerri Logan is gloriously awful (and terrific) and steals the scene every time she appears in a fiery glow and a chorus of boos.

Robin, Little Joan, Friar Tuck and the Sheriff
Robin, Little Joan, Friar Tuck and the Sheriff

The songs and the quips may make you groan and laugh – where else will you see a group of children singing George Ezra’s Shotgun and doing back up to the Sheriff’s version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now?

Add to this the cute woodland ballet, a pair of puppet rabbits who pop up now and then to cause a bit of anarchic comment and chaos (operated and voiced by Shaan Latif-Shaikh), and a trio of juvenile roles – Little “Joan”, Tilly, and Tommy – played by Marija Velkova, Elena Gonzalez and Edward P Gamazeliuc at Friday evening’s performance. There’s even a pantomime horse: someone should tell the McCuddy Brothers over at the Southbank’s Black Beauty!

James Goodden as "Winnie Widebottom" in Robin Hood
James Goodden as “Winnie Widebottom” in Robin Hood

As ever, the production values are very high – Alex Marker’s sets are excellent – and director Pam Redrup with choreographer Sara Page have brought Ben Crocker’s show to sharp relief, pitched just right for the Christmas market. Running until New Year’s Eve, you could do worse than pay this show a visit.

Photo credits Rishi Rai.

LouReviews purchased a ticket to see Robin Hood.

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