What a fitting time to put on the story of Robin Hood, the valiant hero of the poor pitted against a villain hell bent on bleeding them dry - he should be in Whitehall not Sherwood. But Chris Jordan’s affable panto only makes a slight nod to ‘Boy George Osborne’ preferring to stay in far sillier territory, which is just how this giggling Stevenage audience likes it.
Thanks to a shop selling ‘Marian’s Marvels’ the audience is awash with whizzing light sticks and flashing pink bunny ears making them visually part of the action. As Sheriff of Nottingham Brian Capron amiably plays the rogue eliciting hisses and boos worthy of his evil Corrie reputation, while Tracey Penn’s leggy Robin evokes Errol Flynn with her thigh slapping heroics. The evening has a distinctly musical feel with tap numbers a plenty and Penn’s pitch perfect duet with Francesca Leyland’s Marian is gorgeous, though it falls a little flat with an audience really there for the comedy.
Luckily there is plenty of this in the form of David Dobson’s likeable buffoon Will Scarlet and Stevenage favourite Paul Laidlaw’s cheeky Dame, whose bits of stage business are so beloved they threaten to dethrone even King Richard in the hearts of this auditorium of fans.