We were invited to the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford to watch their latest rock ‘n’ roll panto, Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood..oh yes we were! Initially it was supposed to be on Press Night but due to the heavy snow the show was postponed hence we ended up heading to the panto after Christmas. We headed to the show with plenty of time to spare as we wanted to find a good parking spot. We easily found our parking spot just 5 minutes walking distance away from the theatre (next to Aldi). We paid for all day parking which cost us £4.20 as we went for the matinee show. Upon arriving at the theatre, we picked up our tickets and headed to their Coffee Shop (on the ground floor) to have some cakes and hot drinks while we waited (it was quite busy on the day and most of their cakes we sold off). The area was large enough for families to sit comfortably, the cafe stocked up on some cakes, snacks, ice-cream, hot drinks and soft drinks too. There is also a bar for those wanting a pint or glass of wine.
Soon it was time for the show to start and we headed to the theatre. Our seating was far behind but we had a clear view of the stage, kids also brought their binoculars with them, so they could see the actor’s faces clearly. The crowd was roaring to go from the start, as we saw the cast and crew walking about saying hello to the guests and chatting with them (before the show started) which was a fab thing to do as it got the kids were all excited. Looking at the theatre, it could easily sit more than 400 people and it was a full house. The seats were comfortable and the theatre was smaller than we expected but it was a lovely venue.
The matinee show which started at half two, stopped for a 10 minute break half way and then continued till nearly 5pm. It was a full on show with non stop hit songs, slapstick comedy and participation from the crowd. I could hear the crowd singing to some great tunes such as I Shot the Sheriff, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, Born to Run, Girls Just Want to Have Fun and The Hippy Hippy Shake song amongst others.
What did we think of the show?
The panto was rock n roll themed, hence if you love great music, you would have enjoyed every bit of it as we did! We thought all the the cast and crew were talented, as they were not only actors but singing and playing instruments live on stage (and swapping instruments)…oh and dancing as well. We were surprised that the music and songs were not pre-recorded and that the cast also double as the backing bands. We found the comedy mildy amusing and would have liked the script to be a bit more tasteful than just slapstick, also it would also have been nice if the cast had a mic (more powerful) on them when they were speaking as we felt they were just talking loud and only heard them clearly when they were singing. The castle-themed stage set was mainly static but due respect has to go to the sound effects which were syncronised well. It was a great family show and most importantly the kids enjoyed it.
About the panto
In a gist, the lively cast tell the story of Robin Hood and his mission to defeat the evil Sheriff of Nottingham who has captured “The Babes” for their fathers gold. Sandy Grigelis star as Robin Hood and Laura Sillett as Maid Marion while Anthony Hunt is cast as the villain, The Sherrif of Nottingham (whom the kids loved). One of the main stars in the show just had to be Steve Simmonds who acts as the oversized Nanny, Nanny Nelly Nightnurse (our kids loved her as she was funny) and not forgetting Samuel Townsend as Numbskull. All the cast have fabulous singing voices, but a big mention has to go to Laura whose voice is just so beautiful to listen to. Rob Simon is the director, Craig Adams is the musical director while Verity Bray takes the lead for choreography.
To read more about the cast and crew, visit our earlier post here.
Where is Stafford Gatehouse Theatre?
Stafford Gatehouse is an old Victorian theatre for professional and amateur shows, including Shakespeare and children’s plays. In 2007, the Borough Hall was reopened as Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, by his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. The Borough Hall was originally opened on 20 June 1877 and the building once housed Stafford Borough Council.
Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Tel: 01785 619080
Where to park?
Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is in the heart of Stafford, just seconds from the main shopping centre and central tourist attractions. It is less than 10 minutes drive from Junctions 13 and 14 of the M6 and can be found by following the theatre mask symbols on routes into the town centre. There are ample parking facilities a short walk away from the theatre and cycle racks are available outside the building.
How long will the panto be on for?
The panto will run from Thursday, 7 December 2017 until Sunday, 7 January 2018.
How much are the tickets for Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood Panto?
Adult £20.00, Concession £15.50, Family Ticket £66 There will also be a few adults only performances (3, 4 and 5 January 2018). Tickets £17.50.
How can I book the panto tickets?
Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting their website.