21 December 2009 (Matinee)
In the hood!
I think we saved the best until last, without realising it of course! They say that in hard times people need glamour, and if this is true, then The Birmingham Hippodrome at Christmas is the place to be.
Robin Hood is a massive panto. Huge. It is the panto that the credit crunch forgot! And while you can easily argue that the small local pantomimes are best for sheer charm and effort, I can honestly say that if you throw enough money at something, and add an awful lot of sequins and sparkle, then the truly gargantuan pantomimes are just brilliant too – and they don’t come much better than this!
With firework displays, a robot, exciting magical illusions, glitz, glamour, fabulous musical numbers with excellent song and dance, and an amazing, if somewhat surprising ice skating number – with an ACTUAL ice rink (well done stage crew!) this show had everything that a family audience could possibly want!
John Barrowman is a wonderful and heroic Robin Hood who has far more boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm than I’m sure the actual folk-hero ever did! Barrowman is a seasoned performer, a fabulous musical theatre star and popular actor – but surely he was born to be in panto! He is bezzy mates with the audience from his first entrance, kids love him, dads don’t feel threatened by him and all the women think they can “turn” him!
He also shows that he can turn his hand to anything by reprising his skills learnt in Dancing on Ice on the aforementioned rink, even if there was the odd wobble - to the delight of the audience!
Elsewhere, other excellent performances vie for supremacy and challenge Barrowman well! There’s the hugely talented ventriloquist, Paul Zerdin ( Will Scarlett) who has many incredibly clever solo slots, and, in an inspired move, Don McLean’s Friar Tuck has to dress as a woman to help Robin’s plans, thus allowing McLean to showcase his panto dame proficiency in a panto that might not otherwise have had one!
The sets are marvellous, the costumes sparkle, the Merry Men add handsome charm and every one of the many pennies ploughed into this is money well spent – as is the price of your ticket!
Review – Follies, National Theatre
2 weeks ago