Robin Hood and his Merry Men – Gaiety Theatre – Review
27 November 2016 – 22 January 2017
The Sheriff of Snottingham is a bad, bad man. He seems to enjoy nothing more than collecting tax from the inhabitants of the town he governs. He has fallen for the beautiful Maid Marian and has decided to increase taxes even further until she agrees to marry him. She goes to his castle to try and dissuade him and is taken prisoner. There is another who longs for the heart of the beautiful Maid. Robin Hood met Marian briefly in the forest and is now besotted with her. When he hears of her plight, he sets out with his merry men to free his beloved!
Panto Season begins in earnest with this production amazingly already extended until near the end of January. The Gaiety Panto is always quite an event and attracts a huge amount of little people to the theatre along with their minders. The productions are quite lavish with large casts, impressive sets and luxurious costumes and this one is no different.
The Panto gives a good insight into the year that has just gone by, with a lot of topical jokes and humour. Last year we had Granny McGregor and this year she has been replaced with Nanny G, a version of Honey G from X-Factor. There are mentions of Pokemon Go along with the water bottle and mannequin challenges, so a variety of viral phenomenons from the year past. At one point, Robin is put to death by listening to One Direction! Surely no crueller fate. Donald Trump is also a figure of ridicule and we’d expect no less.
The house band has six members, including guitar, sax and horns. They perform a variety of songs, new and old. Some classics by legends such as a swashbuckling version of Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. Some do not hit the same level, such as a version of Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre. ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ by Justin Timberlake is the reoccurring theme throughout the show.
Both the Panto Dame (Joe Conlan) and Villain (Nicholas Grennell) return from last year’s production ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. They are both old hands with this style of theatre, working the crowd well. The addition of Kate Gilmore, who recently featured in the Tiger Dublin Fringe, as the feisty Maid Marian adds depth to the production. Red Rock’s David Crowley stars as Robin Hood, the generic hero in tights.
It has all the elements of a typical Pantomime, a villain to boo, a hero to cheer and a dame to create mirth. For the adults in the audience, you’re unlikely to find it too traumatic and despite the long stage time. For the children on the other hand, they’ll savour every moment.