Robin Hood

JO GREEN Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

JO GREEN

Men in tights, a sheriff in love with a rock and roll complex and a Dame as camp as Christmas brought plenty of laughs at the Theatre Royal panto in Bury St Edmunds.

And this tale of Robin and his Merry Men really rocked with its fantastic song and dance numbers and plenty of sly jokes for the adults.

They don't come much badder than this Sheriff of Nottingham, played by Mark Stratton.

Strutting his stuff to Sex Bomb and, with mirrored sunglasses and slicked back hair, wooing Maid Marian as Elvis, he was a baddie with soul, aided by suitably inept sidekick Guy of Gisburne, played with relish by John Tearney.

In such a good production it seems unfair to single anyone out. But he and all the cast were outdone by the extraordinary Nurse Nancy, played with bawdy gusto by James Nickerson, who looked like a manic blow-up doll as he careered about the stage, tossing his ringlets, amusing his younger audience with beeping boobs and giving the grown-ups plenty of laugh-out-loud moments with his terrible gags.

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I don't remember panto being this cheeky when I was a child.

The rest of the cast wisely let Nancy take centre stage but provided excellent back-up – Matthew Newman made a suitably dashing Robin and Sarah Lindsey was an empowered Maid Marian, taking everyone by surprise when she switched into diva mode and belted out the soul classic Rescue Me.

And like all the best pantos, most its jokes are so bad they're good – in the archery contest, contender Daniel of Bedingfield is urged to relax – 'you've gotta get through this'.

With great sets, swinging singing and dancing and impeccable support from the juvenile chorus, who can act and enjoy themselves at the same time, this was perfect pitch panto.

Shows run from now until January 18. Box office: 01284 769505.

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