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ROBIN HOOD (article first published : 2007-12-11)

Head for Seabrooke’s Theatre at DHS from now until New Year’s Eve, if you want to enjoy a right royal riotous romp in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood.

Presented by Sue Clarence Promotions and written by Anthony Stonier, Robin Hood represents the 11th annual adult pantomime and, as always, adult panto stalwart Anthony Stonier heads the cast. He wears some glamorous costumes, courtesy of AnnaRosa of Dress Up Boutiques – all revealing those long, slender legs. Anthony has always been involved in the creative process of the adult pantos but this time he moves into the director’s seat while continuing his additional role as musical director.

Anthony’s directorial input is evident. The actors are well-prepared, the scenes flow easily and the humour comes thick and fast. While he stayed true to the anthem-like You’ll Never Walk Alone which suited his full baritone, he introduced some fun technical elements to the number. He has highlighted the best qualities of his cast and used them to full advantage and another entertaining number was Swell Party which he performed with fellow adult panto regular, Rowan Bartlett.

Dressed in dashing green attire as a swashbuckling Little John, Rowan Bartlett opens the show by launching into the Monty Python number Lumberjack as he explains who’s who in the story. Princess Joan of Collins is ruling things while her brother is away on the Crusades. She’s ruthless and determined to take over her brother’s position but Robin Hood – who is well-known for his legendary policy of stealing from the wealth to give to the poor - is equally determined to outwit her. He has placed a spy in her court, one Nurse Stirrups, whose job it is to look after the beautiful but tomboyish Maid Marion.

Living in Sherwood Forest has its benefits, particularly with all that greenery around. Little John has heard of the soothing properties of “grass” and so he tries it out … and we get to hear a great interpretation of Feelin’ Good!

One of Durban’s most versatile and valued young actors, Sean de Klerk is all pebble lenses and rubbery limbs as a dof Robin Hood. Undoubtedly the audience favourite, it was his “sister” act, Can’t Hurry Love, with Rowan Bartlett that brought the house down. He gets the laughs going right up front with a delicious send-up of the legendary brass gong that identifies a Rank Organisation film production.

Nurse Stirrups (alias Friar Tuck) is played by Thomie Holtzhausen who is a delight. Dressed in a hilarious travesty of a nurse’s uniform (the beetroot didn’t go unnoticed!), he enters into the spirit of adult panto as if he’d been born into the genre.

Maid Marion (pronounced “Mawian” - she can’t say her r’s) is played by attractive and welcome newcomer, Clare McIlroy. Tall and lissom, she gets to have the stage to herself to show off her dancing skills. Oh yes – one important cast “member” I have forgotten and that’s a wannabee pop star squirrel, a puppet who accompanies some of the songs until he gets a sharp smack from Maid Marion for upstaging her song!

As with all the adult pantos, this production isn’t shy in sexual innuendo but the added introduction of an Afrikaans-speaking actor in the form of Thomie Holtzhausen has broadened the scope of the humour considerably and he drew many of the laughs.

The only adverse comment I have is that the sound quality needs serious attention. Enjoyment of the songs was marred by distortion in amplification or imbalance of singer and tracks. However, I feel sure that these problems will have been sorted by the time you read this!

The show is also good corporate entertainment for the festive season in terms of staff functions. It’s not too risqué but hilarious enough to have a wide appeal. As I said, presented by a well-balanced and highly talented cast … it’s a jolly good romp!

Robin Hoodruns at Seabrooke’s @ DHS until New Year’s Eve. Tickets from R85 (no concessions). All bookings and enquiries on 074 190 6239. – Caroline Smart




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