This is not the first time that Shane Richie has played Robin Hood for Qdos Entertainment and I doubt whether it will be the last. Richie is an extremely versatile actor, equally at home in comedy or serious drama. His roots however are enduringly that of a bluecoat entertainer and children’s television presenter and this stands him in very good stead as a pantomime headliner. He is exceptionally good with the kids and blithely flirts with half the auditorium.
Richie is charm personified and it rubs off on the rest of the team, from regular sidekicks Peter Piper as Tuck and magician Phil Hitchcock as Merlin to the cheerily acrobatic Acromaniacs, who make up the bulk of the Merry Men.
Alan McHugh’s book, however, doesn’t leave a huge amount of room for romance and as a result, Zoe George’s Maid Marian barely makes an impact – her character feels like little more than a plot device.
Pete Gallagher fairs much better as the grouchy Sheriff of Nottingham, who terrorises the villagers with a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex. He also gets a comparable amount of one-liners, but ultimately this is Richie’s show and he knows almost instinctively how to work an audience into a family-friendly frenzy.