IT will be a long time before I forget the Sheriff of Nottingham’s Ming the Merciless facial hair or the wardrobe malfunction during Dame Winnie Widebottom’s strip at the 2017 Tisbury Arts Group pantomime.
They were the highlights of the hilarious Ben Crocker version of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, directed by Jon Bertenshaw and performed in the bright and shiny newly refurbished Nadder Centre.
The “stage” a dais at the end of a smaller theatre than usual for TAG, is not easy, but the enterprising cast and backstage crew made the most of it, relishing the new lighting but perhaps cursing the difficulty of making trees stand upright.
Unabashed, Robin and his merrie people robbed the rich, redistributed wealth (well, sweets) to the poor, swashed their buckles, sang their songs and vanquished the evil sheriff.
Liz Coyle-Camp is a simply hilarious baddie, her own mobile face moving those eyebrows and beard to lascivious grotesquerie. (if you can spot her in the photograph, believe me it does no justice to how she really looks!)
She is nicely backed up by her lovably clueless tax collecting sidekick Dennis (Phil Bealing), a man as thin skinned as The POTUS.
TAG is very lucky to have two such good singers to play Robin and Marion as Charlie Greenwood and Nichola Gee. Their duets, even sung to sometimes-blaring recorded music, are a delight. And talking of duets, the Babes (Maisie Camp-Sorensen and Samuel Carlile) brought the house down with their song about growing up.
Steve Whittingham’s dame Winnie is as colourful as she is large, in person and personality. Woe betide the men in the front row who catch HER eye.
TAG panto stalwart Sallianne Crosbie is a properly confused Friar Tuck, with Shauna Camp-Sorensen as Little Joan (whose father John was killed by the Sheriff before the show started.)
This is real village pantomime, and reminds me what a joy it can be.