EXQUISITE costumes and witty one-liners were in plentiful supply as Salisbury Playhouse patrons enjoyed a hefty dose of family fun at the festive panto production of Robin Hood.
Bright and beautifully put together, the brilliant show has all the key ingredients of a wonderful panto with clever multi-level scenery, hilarious characters, heaps of slapstick fun, villainous baddies and a lovable hero and heroine.
As one of the first local theatres to launch into its panto session, the popular venue will be hoping to exceed last year’s record breaking audiences of 26,000 visitors, and with a show as good as this the odds are certainly in its favour.
This year’s production has been written by Playhouse favourite Andrew Pollard – who penned last year’s Beauty and the Beast script – and directed by Gareth Machin.
Stepping into the boots of Robin Hood was West End favourite Giovanni Spano, who was every bit the handsome hero with a strong and confident performance. Alongside him Alice Stokoe (Sister Act UK tour, Mamma Mia!) was delightful in the role of Maid Marion.
When Marion falls into the clutches of the wicked but incredibly amusing Sheriff of Nottingham (Greg Barnett) Robin and his merry men Friar Tuck and Alan A’dale are willing to risk life and limb to rescue her.
With the help of the brilliant panto dame and Marion’s nurse Nora Virus (Adrian Grove) they come up with a cunning plan to rescue the fair maiden.
Dispersed among the fast paced story were some brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and a host of specially adapted modern hits which were brilliantly executed.
The principal cast members were uniformly strong in their various roles, singing beautifully, engaging the audience effectively and smiling broadly.
As well as the cast of nine professional actors, a team of brilliant young performers from a local amateur group danced, sung and acted with courage and conviction.
The set was magnificent as the action seamlessly moved from the leafy surrounds of Sherwood Forest to the sheriff’s grand castle.
Audience participation was also high on the agenda with plenty of chances to join in and even an opportunity for youngsters to join Robin and co on stage for a song.