I haven’t been to many pantomimes, but the ones I’ve been to I’ve enjoyed. Unfortunately, I’ve got to admit that this year’s Janice Honeyman production of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood was a bit of a dud for me.
The sets were incredibly done – something you can’t fault these productions on is the amount of work that goes into designing and creating the costumes, props, and sets. In terms of production, the play was top notch.
Reference to topical news – as we’ve all come to expect and love, the classic fairytale was brought to life with humour, and often made reference to recent news and pop culture in clever ways. Incorporating recognisable popular songs was also a lot of fun.
The villains were great – the characters were so over the top and hilarious that they really stole the show. More than the characters were the actors who brought them to life. Both the male and female villain were perfectly cast, which made all the difference.
The storyline was weak and ridiculous – there was no even semi-logical format for the story. Not only that, but the story was unnecessarily complicated with ‘plot twists’ that didn’t make a significant impact to the story, while others could’ve easily been explained but weren’t. In addition, certain parts of the story were absolutely random. The main villain is conquered by the random appearance of characters from pop culture that he has a phobia of… Surely there are more creative ways of concluding the story.
Robin Hood was by no means a hero – although Robin Hood is the main character of the story, his merry men seemed to do most of the rescuing, and as mentioned, he didn’t defeat the main villain in the end either.
I’m all for productions aimed at a younger audience, but this year’s pantomime was a disappointment. That’s not to say there weren’t elements I enjoyed, but overall I expected more. Usually, there is something in it for children and adults alike, but Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood seemed to not quite fit into any category. Let’s see if Honeyman can defend her title as the pantomime queen in 2017’s production.
If you go to watch the pantomime every year, go and see it, but lower your expectations. If it’s a first for you, rather give it a miss.