Review: Beg, steal or borrow a ticket to Bolsover Drama Group’s panto

Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood presented by Bolsover Drama Group
Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood presented by Bolsover Drama Group

If you’re quick, you may just catch the liveliest, most colourful panto from an award-winning company.

Bolsover Drama Group presents the final performances of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood today (Saturday, January 30) at 2pm and 7.15pm.

Panto is back at the town’s Assembly Rooms where the curtained-off stage enables multiple scene changes.

Sitting as near to the front as possible is advisable as all the seating is on one level and can make it difficult for the smallest member of the family to see all the panto action.

Dancers do a good job in involving the audience right from the start, boogying their way down the aisle to Uptown Funk.

The central gangway also enables Chris Peck as Herman the Henchman to march up and down revving up the mass singalong of Robin Hood.

Chris covers for the absence of a dame in this production by donning a short dress, knee-length socks and blonde wig in an hilarious schoolroom scene complete with one of the best songs in the show, Build Me Up Buttercup led by Pete Maddison in his role as Friar Tuck.

Julie Clifford lights up the stage with her lovely characterisation of the outlaw Robin Hood, engaging well with the audience and Merry Men which include Ray Hall cast as Will Scarlett and Paul Holland as Little John.

Lyndsey Whitehouse makes a good Maid Marian and her solo Love Will Find A Way from The Lion King sits well among the well-chosen variety of songs.

The malevolent Sheriff of Nottingham is in the safe hands of former World Cup referee Glenn Turner who slots a football-related line into his magnificent panto debut.

Louise Sutton raises giggles galore as the authoritative and flirty Nurse Norah and is a big asset to the company.

The children Janet and John are played by Jack Wilson and Sienna Alsop and Hugo Lockwood and Olivia Jaffrey on alternate performances and the scene were they are in bed and objects come to life is one of the best in the panto. Little fairies dance around waving illuminated wands, bricks spell out words and objects fly around the stage in an ultraviolet world.

Janet Koszegi works her magic on the role of Spirit of Greenwood, ensuring that good triumphs over bad in the best of tradition.

This is the company’s finest panto for years and if justice is done, Bolsover Drama Group will be making way for another trophy in its cabinet.

The show is directed by Mick Whitehouse and Leanne Collins, the latter also responsible for choreography, with musical direction by Nigel Turner.