Monday 25 March 2019

Review: Robin Hood panto at The Gaiety

Robin Hood panto at The Gaiety
Robin Hood panto at The Gaiety
Robin Hood panto at The Gaiety
Robin Hood panto at The Gaiety
Fiona Ness

Fiona Ness

If it’s men in tights you’re looking for, then Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre is the spot this Christmas, with its sparkling panto production of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Of course, there’s also women in tights - Maid Marion being one - but, as it turns out, the women also wear the trousers.

The feisty, all-singing, fist-swinging Marion (Kate Gilmore) has it in for the evil Cedric, Sherriff of Snottingham. Cedric is set on raising the taxes of the town until Marion agrees to become his bride, but she isn’t going to go up the aisle without a fight.

In a codpiece (and, yes, tights), Nicholas Grennell channels Blackadder as the villain of the piece, while his team of gyrating guards provide a compelling backdrop to his hammy hijinks.

Robin Hood panto at The Gaiety
Robin Hood panto at The Gaiety

This is a cast of quintessential panto professionals; however, choreography and scoring emerge as the real stars of the show. While us adults were chucking at legendary panto dame Joe Conlan’s wicked ad-libbing, the children were foot stomping and head bopping along to the musical numbers. With electric-wavy moves and throwing zombie shapes, the cast performed hit modern musical numbers which moved the story along swiftly.

Red Rock’s David Crowley was in fine voice as Robin, and he flirted manfully with pastiche, and the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief. He was happily upstaged by his crew, the Merry Men, whose expert comic timing provided the most laugh-out-loud moments of the show.

On the opening night, the energy and exuberance of the Gaiety’s performance was enthralling; you’d wonder what the cast are really thinking about the fact that the panto’s run has been extended, due to unprecedented demand. Will they have the stamina to deliver? Oh yes they will – and they’ll have another 12 months to recover before the next one too.

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