REVIEW: The Babes in the Wood at Riverhead Theatre

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NORMAN Robbins is the world’s most successful pantomime playwright. His credits include Snow White, Hansel and Gretel and Sleeping Beauty.

So it comes as no surprise that Playgoers chose one of his finest works, Babes in the Wood, to start the New Year smiling.

Robbins based this hilarious pantomime upon the tragic tale of the murder of two children in Norfolk’s Wayland Wood 500 years ago.

Babes in the Wood was full and uplifting energy and spark from the moment the tabs opened revealing bright costumes by Frances Brindle and wonderful sets by Bob Booth and his team.

Returning for his second year as the Pantomime Dame, Jamie Smith gave a simply superb performance as Nurse Glucose, throughout, making the audience giggle from the moment he made his entrance through the audience.

Having not done a Pantomime since she was in the chorus when she was only 12, Ellie Ordish has returned, taking on the role of the sweet blonde Maid Marion.

Amy England made her debut performance with Playgoers as Jack, one of the Babes that are stolen by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, to gain their fortune. And as always, Nicky Wright choreographed show-stopping routines for her Studio 2000 dancers to music such as Baggy Trousers and Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter.

Neil Warne and Stuart Spendlow have created a fantastic performance that’s done Norman Robbins justice. I went expecting a brilliant show and was blown away by the end of the first half.

This show is most definitely one you can’t miss.

It runs until Saturday January 21. Tickets are available from the box office. Call 01507 600350.

Review by Kath Norton.