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“ROBIN HOOD – The Arrow in the Oak”

This was a rather grown up pantomime, well-written by Sue Sachon, but perhaps a little serious for the younger members of the audience, that said I enjoyed the production.

The set was very good, lighting and sound excellent, with some well-acted parts.  I liked the woodland scenery it was different to the usual TADS style and looked very good - I loved the oak tree, it moved with panache!  The downstage right flat was well-designed to open out for the midden – making good use of the stage area available.

The castle was fresh-looking, although I think it had been adapted from a previous panto, but the new configuration worked well.

For me, the production needed more pace and music.  I would have liked an opening number to involve the audience more and get us in the mood. The finale was good though.  The numbers that were used were enjoyable, I liked Maid Marion and Clorinda’s duet, some nice harmonies, both ladies projected well and gave the song meaning.  Clorinda’s song for the talent show was excellent, plenty of vigour and meaning and a little bit naughty!

Rory White created a fun Alan Onadole, he got some good audience interaction going, and made the most of the comedy aspect of his role. Rory always gets under his character which makes him pleasing to watch.

Iain Grant created a very stylish Robin Hood.  For the main character he didn’t have an awful lot to do, but he gave his portrayal a lightness and more sophisticated edge.  I loved the sword fights with the Sheriff, very well done, with plenty of purpose and energy, along with speed of action.

I thought Andrew Naish gave Mistress Nancy a slightly laid back portrayal, which I enjoyed, it was pleasing not to have a too full-on Dame.  I loved the wig, and the costumes were very good.  Well done.

Rachael Horsler was a charming Maid Marion, and also created very different personas with her other smaller roles – nicely accomplished.

I thought Chloe White created a first rate character as Clorinda – Robin’s first love. She had the real swashbuckling edge when she was dressed as a boy, but looked very feminine for the talent show.

Elizabeth Hall a new TADS member gave us a fun portrayal as Bob N. Block, she created a clear character, and interacted well with Emily Venn as Tom Tackle, who also acted well.  Both young ladies played other roles well.

David Sachon was a vigorous Sheriff of Nottingham, suitably villainous, who we enjoyed heckling!  He did very well with the part, using a resonant voice that sat well with the part.  The sword fights were very realistic.

Malcolm Stevens Little John was rather quiet, I would have liked him to be a little more forceful with his lib.

Molly Harper was a good Wise Woman – plenty of the cackling old crone with her predictions. The other younger crones, Emily Venn, Claire Moore and Rachael Horsler also integrated well.

Barry Symonds seems to be enjoying being back on stage again – he created a fun Friar Tuck with plenty of innuendo.

I liked the kitchen scene – lovely pie, and it was well-delivered into Bob’s face, a good touch.

Sophie Venn created a troubled King John – I liked the idea of the talent show, and the dance was well done – however using the words would have added a different dimension to it.

A slightly less energetic pantomime than we are used to from TADS, but nicely performed.

Nova Horley   


“ROBIN HOOD – The Arrow in the Oak”

TADS Theatre, Toddington

review date 5th December 2015

Director: Sue Sachon Choreography: Harry Sutherland  


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