robin hood -
Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
Starring Jonathan Wilkes, Christian Patterson and Kai Owen. Playing until 6th January 2019
It's the time of year when across the land audiences boo, hiss and cheer as the best in acting talent get their gender confused and boys dress as girls, girls dress as boys and everyone has a great time. Jonathan Wilkes and Christian Patterson return to the Regent Theatre for their 13th and 10th pantomimes. This years pantomime has a very different feel with the non traditional pantomime tale making the audience laugh and scream in equal measure.
Last year Qdos took over the pantomime at the Regent with an all singing, all dancing show full of special effects that really dazzled and this year they've managed to make it even better. The finale to the first half was mesmerising as Jonathan Wilkes soars over the audience on the back of a giant bat and the 3D scene in the second half is fantastic with young and old really getting scared by the haunted forest. I also particularly liked the music choice taking highlights from The Greatest Showman and other songs allowing Jonathan Wilkes and Finley Guy to show off their vocal talents.
Some of the audiences favourite scenes are back, including the 12 days of Christmas with the 5 toilet rolls and the song on a log with a ghost, which this year features 'Baby Shark' as the song. Some of the old gags are still there, Beryl is still 111, no wait she's ill and Jonny and Christian are still the best comedy double act since Morecombe and Wise. The show gives the audience a real belly laugh as it is proper laugh out loud comedy suitable for the entire family. The chemistry between Jonny and Christian is clear to see, they just love being on stage entertaining Stoke-on-Trent and Stoke-on-Trent love to have them!
Kai Owen returns once again as the bad guy, this time the evil Sheriff of Stokingham, and clearly loves the interaction he has with the audience who happily boo and hiss every time he comes on stage. Finley Guy returns as Maid Marion,having previously played Cinderella at the Regent, and has the looks and voice for the role. She effortlessly dances and sings throughout the show.
This is definitely not a traditional retelling of the Robin Hood story, but it works. I don't think it would work at any other theatre because it is the cast that make it. The script plays to Christian and Jonnys strengths, it's not long before Christian finds himself in a dress! This is a must see panto for anyone who wants to get into the festive mood, you will not be disappointed.
Reviewed by Daniel Keen at the Regent Theatre,Stoke-on-Trent.
Tickets for the show can be purchased from the theatre box office.