Reviewed by Claire Turner
It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch, Essex. We parked next to the theatre in a public car park and was pleased to see it was free to park (and will be every weekend leading up to just after New Year’s Day too). We arrived in plenty of time to collect our tickets and programme from the box office and find our seats. We were sat in row H in the middle and as all the seats are tiered, we had a great view. There were lots of cushions for the children to take so no problems with their view either. We sat in the foyer at the end and had a drink before we left – great coffees and a good selection of homemade cakes to choose from too.
Robin Hood was about to start … Deep in the heart of the forest in his castle, the Sheriff of Nottingham is taxing the poor to pile up his gold, he tries to imprison Maid Marian, her hilarious Nanny Fanny and Eweniss (the sax playing sheep!). However, the Sheriff hasn’t banked on the arrow slinging hero Robin emerging from Sherwood Forest to capture the hand of Marion and ruin his plans! Can Robin save the day with a little help from Friar Tuck and his Merry Men/Women?!
The costumes are brilliant – bright and bold and of course at times over the top!! All the main cast are also the orchestra too and I thought this was brilliant! They didn’t stick to just one instrument each they all switched around depending on who was on stage performing at the time – have you ever seen a sheep play the sax?! Amazing!! Eweniss played by Elian West was great!
The staging was effective – switching as and when needed effortlessly. The dramatic entrances of Morgana the Sheriff of Nottingham’s ‘Mumsy’ were loud, bright and made us jump a few times. She was desperate for the magic stone of Ingatestone that Maid Marion had on. John Barr who played Dame Nanny Fanny was good and at times funny, but it was very scripted so hopefully once the shows run a few times it will flow even better.
The decorating the castle scene with Dame Nanny Fanny, Eweniss and the Sheriff of Nottingham (played by the ever so funny Lawrence Cole) did have us laughing out loud but again seemed to be kept to the script so no going with the moment to keep the audience laughing.
Robin Hood played by Phil Adele and Maid Marion played by Barbara Hockaday were a great match – they sang very well together, played their guitars, danced and fell in love …
The songs were a mixture of new and old, there were Fortnite references, the usual Essex jokes! and more… I can’t give it all away.
I asked my 7 year old to sum up his panto experience ‘it was funny, I liked the Sheriff of Nottingham best – he was funny and always wanted his ‘mumsy’ I liked it when they tried to decorate the castle, the sheep Eweniss got so wet. The dragon was a bit scary but I’m glad Robin Hood was saved’
He laughed, out loud, a lot! That’s the main thing – he enjoyed it! I felt it could have been better and funnier as usually pantos make me laugh a lot too!
It’s a 3 out of 5 stars from me this time.
Tickets cost from £12.50 to £32 ( +65p QNew Transformation Fee. Booking fees may apply).
Robin Hood is at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch, Essex from 28 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.queens-theatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01708 443333.
Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 1QT | 01708 443333