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Corn Exchange - Robin Hood

2nd December 2003 to 10th January 2004.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Bang on target

Robin Hood, at The Corn Exchange, until January 10

The Corn Exchange and Opera della Luna's pantomime Robin Hood is as bang on target as Robin's arrows!

Written and directed by Jeff Clarke, this is a witty, fast-paced re-telling of the Robin Hood story with some excellent pastiche music under the capable hands of musical director Gareth Weedon.

It's great family entertainment, filled with fun and oodles of audience participation. Oh yes it is...

The costumes are sumptuous and the set using gauze to depict the wood is excellent, with some very inventive lighting effects.

Robin Hood (Paul Hemming) has been forced into hiding by the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham (Paul Westhead).

We meet Will Scarlett (Daniel Carter) and Friar Tuck, delightfully portrayed by Tim Hudson, who I swear was John Prestcott's double, as he peddled his nut-brown ale and pies. His slapstick scene with Little John (Philip Bosworth) was hilarious.

Every pantomime needs a Dame and Philip Cox was splendid as Come-Quickly, delivering some of the most outrageous puns and references to other pantomimes as she looked after the two orphan children in her care (Robert Bridger and Ellie Bradshaw), the innocent victims of the Sheriff's devious plot to get his hands on the money left for their upkeep by his brother. The task of looking after the Dame's bag of florins was left in the very capable hands of the audience.

Of course there is a love story and Robin falls head-over-heels for the lovely Maid Marion, beautifully portrayed by Abbie Osmon.

But will the evil Sheriff force Marion to marry him? Will Dame Come-Quickly succeed in protecting her wards and what has happened to King Richard?

All is not lost for the mysterious magician at the Goose Fair -Don Magnificao (Daniel Carter) - turns out to be none other than Richard the Lion Heart and all ends well.

Choreography by Frankie Vinelott is crisply delivered by the enthusiastic ladies and gentlemen of the chorus, which all adds to a delightful evening.

If you are looking for the perfect start to the festive season then Robin Hood hits the bulls-eye.

Don't miss it.