The panto is a Christmas tradition for many so when the opportunity arose to have a Southampton Bloggers event with The Mayflower, ten of us went along to the showing of Robin Hood The Panto* starring Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace. The pantomime will be running at The Mayflower until January 8th 2017 and is the perfect family show for this Christmas. I can't wait to tell you what I thought...
Having not been to a pantomime since I was a child, I couldn't quite remember what to expect. I'd been making "He's behind you jokes" for weeks to Arran so in my head I was kinda expecting a barrel of laughs suitable for everyone. We each took our seats for a 7pm start after being handed 3D glasses which having gone into this show blind I was looking forward to seeing what they were for.
The set was beautiful, fun and easy on the eye. There was so much to look at and I kept moving my head here, there and everywhere. From the set on stage, to the dancing lights on the ceiling and the pyrotechnics, it was fabulously done for adults and children alike.
The show began with the most beautiful and sparkly fairy godmother, I could not take my eyes off her shoes and in no time at all, Robin Hood aka Shane Richie bounded on to the stage. I kind of remembered the plot of Robin Hood and assumed this would be loosely followed which it was but I didn't expect so many Eastenders references. For someone that doesn't watch Eastenders, most of them went over my head. I'm aware of Kat & Alfie from the soap and their connection was clear on stage, they really do work incredibly together which was fabulous to watch as it was just electric but I feel like the Eastenders references could be toned down a bit. Jessie Wallace played Maid Marion so well, I absolutely loved her performance and who knew she had a singing voice like that on her, I was thoroughly impressed.
There was also a Ghostbusters scene which myself and the children in the audience loved. It was well executed, very funny and the perfect addition for some panto fun. One thing I did notice was the amount of innuendos, sexual comments and odd curse which the little boy sat in front of me picked up on much to his mothers horror, I personally found it quite funny. I assume stuff like this just doesn't register with children but I definitely had some chuckles to myself.
The one thing I really didn't like because it scared the bejesus out of me, was the 3D scene. OMG it was bloody terrifying and I'm 26 so christ knows how the children took it. There were a couple crying which was sad but when you put a dark, scary forest in 3D along with creepy crawlies, wolves and lake snakes then I wouldn't expect anything less. I even had my eyes shut at one point. Thankfully this scene was pretty much in the middle so we did get the chance to have lots of laughs and fun after to try and forget the terrifying experience.
As well as scary creepy crawlies there was also some very funny gaffs which had the entire theatre laughing, a take on the 12 days of Christmas and some pretty incredible magic performed by Merlin. The entire cast had incredible stage presence, they were funny, they bounced off one another and you could see how much they were enjoying too. It was very warming to watch and definitely changed my opinion on thinking pantomimes are purely for children.
The end of the show saw Shane Richie inviting some children on to the stage which was funny and sweet, each were also given a present to go away with. There were birthday shout outs and more jokes, it was just a thoroughly good show.
Robin Hood is showing at the Mayflower Theatre between 17th December 2016 - 8th January 2017. Tickets are only available in advance from their box office (in the theatre or online). You can also catch a relaxed performance on the 3rd January 2017, designed especially for those on the autism spectrum, or have sensory or communications difficulties, or learning difficulties. Make your Christmas unforgettable with the panto this Christmas at The Mayflower.
*Complimentary ticket for review purposes.