My first memory of the theatre is being told that all the children were going to be turned into chocolate by a Pantomine baddy, after which I hid in terror for the rest of the show. I thought my media-savvy five year old son - who recently complained that there weren’t many monsters in Doctor Who - would probably be fine even if the baddies were pretty bad. I hadn’t banked on Kris Manuel’s Guy of Gisbourne and Andrew Pepper’s Sheriff of Nottingham - they were excellently evil! I did my best audience participation trying to show Pascal that boo-ing and hissing was fun, but he looked stony-faced and said ‘scary’. I thought ‘what have I done!?’In the interval, fortified by George and Davis ice cream, I embarked upon a lecture about the differences between medieval feudalism and capitalist democracy (not that much according to writer and director Peter Duncan's age of austerity jokes), with a brief digression into the traditions of theatrical pantomine: In short, Robin Hood was a long time ago, rich baddies are actually just silly, and people are supposed to shout at pantomines. Pascal still looked a bit unsure and said “I’m almost as scared as you used to be when you saw the T-Rex on Prehistoric Park!”*
Fortunately, great music, exciting archery and the wonder of the glitter ball brought Pascal out from behind the seat in Act 2. After a bit of What did the Fox Say and a laugh at the Sheriff’s expense, he was happily drumming along with the songs on his kindly-provided booster seat, and yelling out for Robin to win the fight! He was thrilled to recognise his favourite Daft Punk song ‘Get Lucky’, cunningly mixed with Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ to celebrate Marion’s rescue. And it wasn’t even the end yet - there was a fun sing-a-long and spectacular finale still to come. His final verdict: ‘Good, but a sleeping baby wouldn’t like it!’
*recommended viewing if you aren’t scared of dinosaurs.