Illustrated Teacup

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Thursday, 22 December 2016

He's behind you | Robin Hood at The Mayflower Theatre

I really think Christmas is the season for experiences. It's not all about presents and food (although they are both pretty damn good) but all the experiences that make December such a magical and memorable time of the year.
In keeping with starting some new traditions this year (see our Gingerbread Houses, Henry's Christmas Eve box and the start of our Christmas decorating) I went along to the pantomime.

I haven't been to a pantomime in a long time, since I was a little girl and my Nan would pay for us to go at Christmas. I'm fairly certain we saw Cinderella and Snow White. It's another tradition I really want to do with Henry when he's a little older as I think there's something so special about the panto. It's like nothing else you'll see on stage, and creates some amazing memories.

The Mayflower Theatre* kindly invited myself as part of the Sotonbloggers to attend their press night of Robin Hood, and it was an experience I'll never ever forget!

I won't detail the whole show, but there will be a few spoilers, so if you want to go in as clueless as I did, stop reading now!!

I didn't do any research ahead of the show, but knew that the lead characters where Shane Ritchie and Jessie Wallace, of Alfie and Kat (Eastenders) fame. I was slightly dubious how it would work but it did work, really very well.

On arrival we were handed 3D glasses for the second half of the show. And I'll talk about that in detail later!

As the last time I went to the panto was when I was quite small,I had pretty much forgotten the concept. The show was funny, very funny, and strayed many times from the original story of Robin Hood, but was still a very enjoyable watch. The were of course references to Eastenders (possibly slightly too many, especially if you aren't really a fan of Eastenders) and a few popular culture references, including to the Ghostbusters. This bit was funny, and was clearly a huge hit with the children in the audience.

The costumes, dance and other performances were as beautiful and co-ordinated as you could wish from a stage show, and the songs were catchy and brilliantly performed (the Spirit of the Forest was an amazing singer - I genuinely could have listened to her all day).

The closing of the first half was kind of insane. I won't ruin it entirely for anyone that does want to see the show, and has gotten this far, but I will say I was kind of taken by surprise in a "I don't understand what is happening but the effects are pretty great" kind of way. Again the kids in the audience seem to love it.

The second half continued with even more innuendo (I guess this is just missed by the kids, and is aimed at the parents as I don't remember anything like it from the pantos of my childhood). Then came the 3D section. Now full disclaimer/spoiler here. It was scary! The scene was travelling through Sherwood Forest with spiders, bugs and mythical creatures coming at you whilst you go through the forest. I won't take away from the effects, they were brilliant, you can't fault that, it was incredibly dramatic, however there isn't a disclaimer on the website so there is no preparing for it and i imagine little kids might have found it more scary than I did.

However the rest of the show was brilliant (I think the timing of the scary 3D scene was important to be pretty much in the middle, as with a bit of luck, the kids will have forgotten some of it by the end) and ended on a brilliant high, with a couple of huge pantomime gaffs which I won't spoil here, but one in particular had me almost in tears laughing. Their Christmas song was hilarious, and well done - though perhaps a teeny bit long.

Shane Ritchie completely stole the show and was a cheeky and funny as you would expect. You could also tell that the whole cast thoroughly loved performing and being a part of the show. The giggles and smiles from them during the funnier scenes brought extra cheer to the stage. The person that really stood out for me though was the illusionist who played Merlin. The tricks were outstanding, and I adored the doves. I literally had a beam on my face the entire time he was performing.

Of course the show ended with a lovely glitzy ending, and a few words from Shane about the Mayflower Theatre, it's commitment to the arts and it's work in raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital which was very heartwarming.

All in all, despite a terrifying few minutes during the 3D section (personally I think the show would have been equally amazing without its inclusion) which I hope didn't put off any small minds from pantos, it was a great show. Odd but brilliant, but I think that's the point of the panto. It fills you with cheer and slight bewilderment, and is like nothing you've seen before.

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). There is also 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. Tickets can be bought here!  

So what do you think of the panto? Will you be adding it to your Christmas Traditions?

*tickets to attend were provided by the Mayflower Theatre in exchange for review - all opinions, as aways, are my own. 
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  1. Aww glad you had a fun time! xx

  2. Wow, 3D section! Panto's have changed since I was a little girl, thats for sure! Sounds like a laugh although I'm sure that would have scared me as a child!
    Can't wait to go to a pantomime once our baby is old enough, I haven't been since I was little!

    Merry Christmas!
    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

  3. I love going to pantomimes at Christmas, we have not been able to this year with baby being born so close to Christmas. Looks like you had such a great time!


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