Reviewed by Amanda Gazzard
December at The Cliffs Pavilion can only mean one thing PANTO!
Last year Ashley Banjo and Diversity graced us with their debut stage performance of Aladdin and this year they were back with Robin Hood and The Merry Men.
Robin Hood and his Merry Men lead the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and his nasty soldiers on a merry dance through Sherwood Forest whilst robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.
Wow, wow, wow, what a brilliant performance from the opening scene until the final curtain call. Each performer took their rightful place on the stage and had the whole audience captivated. The musical talents were second to none and they all had beautiful voices. The costumes were some of the best I have seen in a pantomime. The stage settings were simple yet detailed and went well with each scene.
The Merry Men who were played by Diversity wowed the audience with their unique dance routines and were second to none. They undoubtedly proved to everyone why they are the leaders in their field with their show stopping routines. I know some may not agree as Diversity were headlining, and don’t get me wrong Diversity were fantastic, but the star of the show in my opinion was Simple Simon (Kev Orkian). He was naturally funny and had a great stage presence, my jaw was aching from the amount of laughing. A truly talented performer and I hope this is not the last we see of him here at the Cliffs Pavilion. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Daniel Boys) portrayed a brilliant villain and had the audience booing and hissing at him. The Spirit of Sherwood (Gina Murray) sang beautifully as did Maid Marion (Lauren Chia) who also danced with grace. Friar Tuck (Jack Land Noble) was a great complement to an already strong cast as was King Richard also played by Jack Land Noble, oh and the accent tied in well (wink wink). The Ensemble were full of energy and it was clear they enjoyed their time on the stage. Expressions Theatre Arts Company, a local performing arts group showed off their dance moves and supported the panto cast very well. The musical choices were very current with a slight panto twist.
The Twin FX visual and special effects were show stopping with lots of surprises along the way.
All in all, this was probably one of the funniest pantomime’s I have seen at the Cliffs Pavilion and the humour is great for all ages. A combination of dazzling special effects, laughter until your cheeks ache you will not be left disappointed.
A very deserving 5 out of 5 stars.
To avoid driving around looking for a parking space the easiest place to park for free after 6pm is the sea front. It’s only a short walk up the steps to the theatre.
The theatre has a varied range of confectionery and beverages to purchase before, during and following the performance.
Tickets cost from £16 to £45.50 (booking fees may apply).
Robin Hood and The Merry Men is at the Cliffs Pavilion from 13 December 2019 to 4 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135