Babes in the Wood
The Newcastle Pantomime Company Ltd
Journal Tyne Theatre, Newcastle
For one of the merriest pantomimes - and a showcase for some of the best talent in the North-East region - look no further than the Journal Tyne Theatre in Newcastle.
Babes in the Wood, an adaptation of the classic Robin Hood tale, features the region's very own band of merry men - and women. They come in the shape of singers and comedians and an assortment of young Byker Grove stars and Metro Radio presenters. And it works. It's very, very funny, featuring old-fashioned Geordie humour, and it's all good, clean fun.
Actor and comedian Brendan Healy, who also directs the show, has the sort of star quality that bridges the generations. His performance as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham had the audience booing and hissing from the word go. And he doesn't ham it up too much, but brings just the right gravitas to the part.
Colourful comic duo Maxie and Mitch, Maxie Peters as Nurse Goodbody and Billy Mitchell as Igor the Useless, were a big hit with the children.
Bringing a touch of glamour to the occasion were Stephanie Constable as Maid Marion and Byker Grove star Sarah Lawton as Robin Hood. Both are very capable actresses and helped keep the banter and audience participation nice and lively. Sarah Lawton has an easy-going, girl-next-door charm, which worked very well in this setting.
And a big hit with the teen element were Byker Grove twins Dominic and Alex Beebe, as Big John and Little John. The novelty value of the twins, in their identical costumes, popping in and out of scenes was fun to watch.
The young - and very talented - dancers from Tyne Theatre Stage School helped supply the 'ah factor' with their fancy footwork and cute outfits.
In all, I can recommend it. This is a panto I felt very comfortable taking my own family to see.
It's bold and bright - a traditional panto for all the family.
"Babes in the Wood" runs until 7th January
Reviewer: Katharine Capocci