Local hero Jonathan Wilkes can do little wrong in his hometown theatre. He’s been performing panto here for the past 13 years. This year, in the title role of Robin Hood, he gives another masterclass in how to work an audience.
His enthusiasm and sense of fun is so infectious that he can – and does – get huge laughs from something as simple as chucking a set of toilet rolls into the auditorium during a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Once again he is ably assisted by his panto partner of 10 years Christian Patterson (here playing Friar Tuck) and this year there is further comic input from the excellent Delme Thomas as Will Scarlet. This trio work so well together that they are capable of carrying the show with their comic antics alone – much of these appear to be ad-libbed, including an “accidental” tearing down of a scenic curtain.
As well as a strong comedy element, the glitzy show also benefits from a superior and lengthy 3D sequence – and the sight of Wilkes flying overhead on a giant bat.
The story is thin as tracing paper, the script serviceable at best but that hardly seems to matter when the talented Potteries maestro is in charge of the fun.