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Robin Hood Review - The Luton News 2/12/16
PHOENIX PLAYERS “ROBIN HOOD” 2nd December 2016
Written by Stuart Farrar and Steve Reinsford, Director: Stuart Farrar, MD: Sarah Farrar, Choreographer: Sarah Albert, Luton Library Theatre
My first pantomime of the latter part of 2016, and an enjoyable one.
The opening was rather slow – always difficult in a pantomime for three cast members to appear before the audience has had a chance to warm up. I would have liked to have seen a rousing chorus number to get us in the mood, then the opening lib would have met with more enthusiasm from the audience.
The set was good, and technically all ran really well on the whole, but the usual problem of not being able to light the far front corners of the stage adequately, meant that sometimes the cast were performing in near darkness, which was a shame.
Costumes on the whole were good, and suitable for the various cast members, however I felt the Dame’s costumes were not OTT enough to make her stand out from the rest of the cast, which was a shame.
Musically there were some blips where the cast didn’t come in on time, and there were definitely some tuning problems, but overall I liked the choice of music, and the band played well.
Choreography was mostly good, and catered for the diverse capabilities of the cast, the junior chorus did particularly well.
I particularly liked Michelina Rampello who played Maid Marion, she was very feisty and not at all the quiet retiring person Marion is often portrayed as. She sang her Act 1 number extremely well, with lots of intent and expression, and I thought her costume really suited her and the part.
Sarah Albert turned in a good performance as Robin Hood, a good principal boy, with lots of swagger and creating a good relationship between her and Marion.
Steve Loczy portrayed the evil Sheriff of Nottingham well, along with Errol Albert as Guy of Gisborne – they created a very nasty duo, although I felt there was too much contrast between them vocally, as Steve was very emphatic, and Errol was very softly spoken.
I loved the attitude of the Sherrif’s Wife, as played by Jonika Kinchin, again a lovely costume that echoed the fiery nature of the part, and another very nicely sung number.
Scott Newman had the dubious pleasure of opening the show as Alan a Dale, he showed great enthusiasm, and had to work really hard to get any response from the audience, so well done for keeping the energy up. He was ably supported by Lucy Farrar as Mutch the Miller’s Son, and Hannah Ridley as Will Scarlett, these two young ladies really entered into the spirit of pantomime, and gave us good performances throughout.
Barry Hyde played Little John as a rather camp character, who took the innuendos in good part, and provided a nice contrast to the other cast members.
Roger Scales was Dame Trott, and whilst his lib was delivered in a very matter-of-fact way, I needed more of the full-on Damely qualities to add another dimension to the part. I loved his wigs, they were very colourful, but his dresses needed more oomph!
Friar Tuck was played with her usual good comic timing and sense of the ridiculous by Dee Lovelock, nicely achieved.
I liked the three women – Jackie Hensley, Jayne Hodgson and Pauline Field – they created three differing characters, and put over their song really well, with good expression.
The Chorus reacted well to the proceedings, and provided good backing for the principals, and I was very impressed by the Junior Chorus, they did really well, lots of happy smiley faces too – very well done.
This was an enjoyable production, but one that needed a bit more pace and energy to lift it.