Panto cheer

Chesterfield launches it's 2011 Panto Robin Hood
Chesterfield launches it's 2011 Panto Robin Hood

CHRISTMAS seems to come around sooner every year, but who cares when it’s panto time!

This year Bruce James Productions bring two stories for the price of one to Chesterfield’s Pomegranate: Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, with a host of characters familiar from the old tales: Robin and Marian (Alex Marshall and Carling Connor), Friar Tuck (Daniel Page), the evil children-hating Sheriff of Nottingham, Nurse Glucose (Paul Morse), Smiley O’Riley...

OK, maybe the last two aren’t exactly the stuff of ancient legend, but Robin’s outlaws probably weren’t as camp as Adam Ludwell and Conan Nicholas make them either. And I doubt if the Sheriff’s little niece danced up a storm like Babe Zoe Southworth does.

This is panto as we all know it: great dancing, terrible jokes (some of them a tad off-colour – be warned), plenty of slapstick and songs the audience knows. At the performance I attended, the kids joined in with everything, even the interval music; and when Smiley (the irrepressible James Campbell) told them to make as much noise as they liked, they took him at his word.

There are Batman, Strictly and celebrity jungle jokes, and a smile-ometer to make sure everyone responds – even accompanying teacher Mrs Jackson, who proved to be a jolly good sport.

A special mention for arch-baddie George Telfer, (the Sheriff), suffering with a bad back, but you’d never know it.

The Pomegranate panto is one of the best – oh yes it is! It runs until January 3.