Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood review at Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford – ‘questionable comedy’
The rock ‘n’ roll panto format has served the Stafford Gatehouse well for several years now. This year it delivers the goods again with Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.
A lively cast of talented young actor-musicians play a dizzying array of instruments while dashing off a string of pop songs along the way.
Sandy Grigelis and Laura Sillett, as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, have fabulous singing voices, as does Samuel Townsend – though his Numbskull character gets to sing only one number, a beautiful rendition of I’ll Never Fall in Love Again that is disrupted by unfunny interruptions from Steve Simmonds’ Nanny Nelly Nightnurse.
Much of the comedy in Peter Rowe’s script is questionable, especially when it descends below the level of seaside postcard innuendo which it does from time to time. There’s also an over-reliance on puns.
Rob Salmon’s production, played out on an imaginative, castle-themed static set, zips along at a cracking pace, with another great song always just around the corner. The sound effects that accompany the mock punch-ups are top-notch, and the whole thing plays out with precision timing.