Robin Hood review at New Victoria, Woking – ‘fitfully entertaining’
The story of Robin Hood, with its broadly painted heroes and villains, makes a good basis for a family pantomime. Writer Alan McHugh uses elements of the legend but essentially this is the Shane Richie vehicle, with acrobats and a T-rex thrown in for good measure.
It helps immensely that Richie is a charismatic entertainer. He’s great with kids and easy to warm to. Ian Talbot’s production, however, is not a particularly strong one for women and even the dame has been dispensed with, replaced in essence with Peter Piper’s genial Friar Tuck. Maid Marian, played here by understudy Paige Albery, barely features although this may have been a result of Suzy Bastone, who normally plays the role, being indisposed. Ashleigh Gray is a reassuring presence as the Spirit of Sherwood, bringing some soaring vocals to the generally up-beat score.
Beyond Richie’s jack-the-lad comedy, there’s an action packed team of tumblers called the Acromaniacs playing the Merry Men and Phil Hitchcock performing magic as Merlin. The hair-raising knockabout antics of the Acromanics and Hitchcock’s engaging magic tricks are far more entertaining than the fairly irrelevant 3D routine or the rather lethargic dinosaur.