As I sat in another near sell out show of Ripon’s Charity Pantomime production of Babes in the Wood I began to think of the many amazing shows that I’ve attended over the years.
The charity has produced, presented and performed 36 shows and have made in excess of £50,000 which have gone to help local worthy causes.
Although I can’t claim to have seen all of the shows, I know I must have seen most of them and what amazing shows they have been.
So, would this show keep up the panto tradition of cheering, booing and shouting “its behind you” and the lovable audience sing along. Well I can say it did not disappoint and has kept all these special traditions that makes a panto, well a panto.
Babes in the Wood is a popular panto, but producer Mike Hall put his own special twist on the story. The story is set in Nottingham and has the usual characters of the dashing thigh slapping Robin hood played by Lydia McCudden, the sweetheart of the show Maid Marian played by Emma Money then you have the dastardly/cunning but thworted Prince John and his bad/good cohort Roy Bouy the sheriff of Nottingham played by Anthony Smith and Joanne Johnson. The merry men friar Tuck who later became Freyer Tuck and the love interest for Little John, Robin’s sidekick Will Scarlet and the challenging girl of the group Alana Dale, played in order by Alison Fawcett, Mike Spurgeon, Helena Tarren and Sophie McCudden, and then we have the mischievous babes Billy and Margret (Mags) played by Rosie Dudman and Jess Plunkett.
We also had the introduction of some new characters, we have the kind and caring but absent minded dame in the guise of Nanny Nicola Bouy (Nanny Knickers) for short who is married to the sheriff who in the end is made lord Bouy which made nanny knickers the lady Bouy he’d always dreamed of played by Ryan Stocks, and then we have prince John’s other cohort that of the wicked Madam Eversonice who later became a pile of ash who was then tweeted as “# Ashed Hag played by Courtney Bethell the other addition was in the guise of the jolly jester Joker Joe with his greeting of “hey nonny everybody” and there reply of “hey nonny no Joe” and his constant telling of bad jokes which had the audience groaning played by Cath Colman.
Then we had two cameo rolls in brave King Richard who was fighting in the crusades but was later found to have missed the ferry because of the waves being wrong played by our very own back stage manager Bob McLennan and maid Marians trusted? Sat Knave/Blackberry played by Olivia Horner.
All the pricipals worked very hard in bringing these charaters to life and should be applauded for a fantastical show, we also can’t forget the hard working chorus who without them we wouldn’t have a show.
What impressed the most was the youth in the cast who worked hard with huge smiles on their faces every time they were on stage.
A special mention must be made about the costumes, lighting and the fantastic set designs. All in all this was a great and entertaining show which only got better as it went on and the audience warmed to, this show had all the ingredients that a panto should have, a hero, a villain, a dame a love interest and the usual slapstick with loads of familiar songs and fun dance routines.