Reviewed by Debbie Lowndes
This year is the 13th year that Jonny Wilkes has taken to the stage at the Regent Theatre in Stoke. For the last ten years he has formed a double act with Christian Patterson to produce the most laughable panto around and Stoke people cannot get enough of it!
The Regent Theatre is stylish and an amazing venue. Which was packed to the rafters with young and old, couples, friends and families who had all turned out in drones for the festive fun.
The panto villain, The Sheriff of Stokingham (Kai Owen) stepped out onto the stage. The ever-predictable boos bellowed out as you would expect for the panto baddy.
The panto has a beautiful fairy to provide The Spirit of Sherwood (Rebecca Lisewski). The amazingly funny Friar Tuck (Christian Patterson) has the audience in fits of laughter as he delivered his one-liners.
Our hero of the hour, Robin Hood, was of course the one and only Jonny Wilkes! With his welcoming line ‘Ay up me ducks’ and the audience shouting back ‘At up Robin’. Jonny Wilkes.
The introduction to the band of Merry Men was done is The Chase style. I found this so funny, and the lighting effect in this scene was spot on. Little John (Peter Bonner) and the camp over the top Will Scarlet (Delme Thomas).
Maid Marion was the final member of the cast, played by Finley Guy who recently graduated from the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts, which obviously plays a special part in Jonny’s life as he likes to encourage new blood through.
This year’s panto is oozing with impressive singing and dancing supported by the brilliantly talented ensemble cast and the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts.
Act two saw the use of 3D technology and everyone popped in their glasses on to take a journey into the forest. We were adults, so we found this great. I guess it could be scary for young children.
The baby shark song was sang on stage and the panto ghost made an appearance. The 12 days of Christmas song was on form as in previous years with 5 toilets rolls filing around the theatre with Will Scarlett in hot pursuit.
Towards the end they got the audience involved, they had everyone in their feet singing a song about Stoke.
The panto is yet another great family classic, cleverly put together with a lot of thought behind the scenes. Jonny Wilkes really does know how to put on a panto.
The closing song was great and again and everyone got involved showing their appreciation.
Another great panto at the Regent, well done to all.
Tickets cost from £13.90 to £48.40 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Robin Hood is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke from 14 December 2018 to 6 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/regent-theatre or call the box office on 0844 871 7649.
Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST1 1AP | 0844 871 7649