January 18th, 2009

Fishy Circumstances

Robin Hood: The Pantomime

I'm like the Befana. She arrived twelve days after the Wise Men did, and that's how her day is celebrated every year. For the second year running, I went to the Birmingham Hippodrome panto, following the crabbyoldbats there, one day later. I follow the same star they follow, and C. and I had such a good trip the first year than we went back for another.

The Birmingham Hippodrome takes its pantos very seriously. The budget is lavish, and that's part of why they're so amazing and worthwhile. With John Barrowman in the lead role, Dancing on Ice stars, and a t.v. ventriloquist, the cast is a sound one. It's lavish: I mentioned the Dancing on Ice stars. That's because they're there to ice skate, there on stage, in an entire ice skating sequence, complete with bubbles. The Dame had a costume change for pretty much every day he came one stage, complete with different shoes and hair. There was a turning waterwheel on stage in the opening sequence. For the finale, there were fountains with real running water. The production values are sumptuous.

it's fun: there are jokes aplenty, and all the actors really looked like they were enjoying themselves. They found some of the jokes pretty silly too, even after doing the play for so many weeks, stopping scenes for a moment to get over their laughter at a gag that was funny all over again. The Sheriff of Nottingham, the bad guy, was played by Pete Gallagher, the same actor as last year; he was fabulous evil fun.

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Despite my extensive listing of frustrations, they were, in the scheme of things, minor enough not to mar the fun of bubbles, glitter, ice skating, silliness, fun songs, and wacky hijinks. I do like a good panto. Last year's was better, but this was still pretty good.