by Julie Petrucci and Chris Shinn
performed by Waterbeach Theatre Company
directed by Kattreya Scheurer-Smith
Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the Glen, well this Robin Hood was riding through Waterbeach Community School for an appreciative audience.
We were welcomed to the show by the Spirit of Sherwood who appeared throughout as guide to the characters and events, this was a confident and assured performance by Scarlet Hall. We met the people of Nottingham who entertained us straight away with the great Madness song 'Our House', being a great fan of Madness, this gave me a good feeling for the show. There wasn't an enormous cast of villagers which was an advantage as it meant the stage wasn't crowded and each cast member had room to move on stage. This was also helped by the use of well-chosen back cloths so they didn't have to make their way around pieces of scenery doted around the stage. The Choreography therefore throughout the show with the company numbers was well designed and well executed, with even the youngest cast members performing well with their routines in their own sequences.
It's always difficult reviewing an opening performance because despite dress and technical rehearsals some things are not quite bedded in and there is always opening night nerves. I did feel that the Dame didn't appear completely comfortable in his role, I'm sure this improved throughout the run. For the solo/principal singing with the hand held mikes the initial sound levels were poor and I couldn't catch the first few words of several of the singers. Scene changes were generally swift although there was one instance in the second act where we had a noticeable pause.
There were many noticeable performances, I have already mentioned Scarlet Hall, Jessica Hamill as Robin Hood and Katherine Maltby as Maid Marion worked well together and were convincing in their roles as were Vicky Butt and Jade Bushell as respectively Little John and Will Scarlet. For these four their performances were confident with good singing and harmony and clear dialogue. In fact, throughout the show spoken dialogue and singing was good and clear (apart from my previous comment which was not down to the actors). We had a suitably nasty performance by David Morris as the Sheriff who was booed with vigour at each appearance. He was helped along by two suitably helpless and hopeless side-kicks Lance and Boyle ably played by Steve Kennett and James Windle, who appeared tailor made for the roles. Stephen Scheurer-Smith tried hard as the Dame but was outshone by his son Wally Wetherspoon played admirably by Oli Howard who knew how to handle a Pantomime audience. I know why he had to have a chair but it mattered not a jot and seemed to suit the role, well done Oli for carrying on and giving us much fun. Fryer Tuck Christine Easterfield appeared to have less of a role than her sons Much Tuck and Not Much Tuck played with enthusiasm by Owen Bateman and Henry McDonald (Boys keep up the drama, you can both act, sing and dance) it's a shame that for much of your number with the younger children the singing was with backing tracks. Michael Husband made a stately appearance as King Richard.
As I have previously noticed at Waterbeach Theatre Company the sets were very good, costumes were excellent and appeared well fitted, there were some great changes of suitable costumes for the various appearances and scenes. There were some great touches throughout, the messages delivered by arrow with a hand from stage right, the use of off stage left for the locked tower room and sound effects. The singing competition and electronic light display panel.
On the whole a well thought through directed and choreographed production. I especially liked this new script which had some excellent lines in it, which were well delivered.
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