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Highcliffe Charity Players delight with Robin Hood at Christchurch Regent Centre

ONCE again, a rip-roaring panto from Highcliffe Charity Players who performed a vibrant, colourful Robin Hood.

Georgina Carter was a lively Maid Marian and Bee Chumley was the handsome Robin. Paul Barrington was a hilarious Nanny Fanny Flapjack and Harry Young her likeable idiot son, Silly Willy.

Martin Mansfield was a truly villainous Sheriff of Nottingham who filled the stage with his evil presence and kept the audience hissing and booing throughout, whereas Laura Lock was the sprite of Sherwood Forest with beautiful irridescent wings but no magic wand, only a stick. David Coward was Friar Tuck, Stan Smith Alan-a-Dale and Pete Whitaker Little John. In a terrific tour de force, four mini-merry men, Archie, Dotty, Jacob and Ollie, appeared as smaller versions of Robin and his band and I especially liked mini Friar Tuck's bald wig.

Along with this young foursome was a 13-strong youth ensemble appearing in a variety of roles including a band of revolting children being trained by a Faginesque Sheriff to “rob a peasant or two”. The cast also included a 13-strong adult ensemble, the entire talented company loudly singing and vigorously dancing their socks off.

As in all previous pantos from this company, the costumes were bright and sparkly, the hairstyles extravagant, the backdrops brilliantly presented which, together with the lighting and the special effects (including Nanny's arms getting longer and longer as she is stretched on the rack), soon transported us all to adventures in Nottingham and Sherwood Forest .

The pantomime was directed by Jade Morrell who, supported by choreographers Amber Billet and Charlotte Starr and, of course, musical director Stuart Darling and his five-strong band, gave the sell-out audience a wonderfully fun evening.

Alison Smith

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