Stafford Gatehouse Theatre has chosen to produce yet another of its great ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ pantomimes again this year. If you’ve never been to one, this means that all of the music is performed live on stage by members of the cast while the action is going on. If you have been before you will appreciate just what this year’s panto has to live up to with some excellent performances in previous years.
I have been going to the pantomime at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre for more than 20 consecutive years and Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood most definitely ranks at the very top of the pile as the best. The cast of ten effortlessly fill the stage with larger than life performances and the time went all too quickly.
As we entered the auditorium, the first thing we looked at was the set design which is special every year. During the performances the quick changes to the set can go unnoticed to most as you are transformed from the castle to the woods and back again. I appreciate all the hard work that goes into designing, building and painting the sets by a small team of technicians and production staff. A special mention this year should be given to the lighting design, which was outstanding.
The cast of this year’s pantomime consisted of only two or three cast members from previous years including the incredibly talented Laura Sillett and Steve Simmonds as Maid Marion and Nanny Nelly Nightnurse respectively. The script was refreshing with many new jokes and lots of surprises. The list of characters seemed to be endless and yet there were only ten cast members, of which there were usually two or more playing instruments at any one time. On that ‘note’ it was also exciting to see a greater use of a wide range of instruments including some that you won’t expect.
The high musical standard of the cast was notable this year with almost everyone playing at least three instruments. And the singing was first class, with powerful performances from all of the cast.
If you have children, go and see this action-packed, fun-filled spectacular and expect the unexpected. If you don’t have children, tune in to your inner child and leave all your inhibitions at home and enjoy the multi-level comedy of this year’s panto. Or, if you’re really daring, ‘arrow’ your way to a slightly naughtier adult only evening performance.
An excellent 5 star pantomime to rival the best of those at bigger venues.
For more information on ticket availability visit the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre website or ring the Box Office on 01785 619080.