The opening chorus line at the Ramelton Pantomime Society's Robin Hood and Babe's in the Woods. Photo Clive Wasson
Ramelton Pantomime Society's production of Robin Hood and Babes in the Woods was cancelled last night (Friday) and tonight (Saturday) due to a wake being held in a house beside the Town hall where the show takes place.
Anyone with tickets for tonight should contact 086 1261381 to re-arrange their bookings or refunds.
The show will resume at the Town Hall on Monday night at 8pm and continue until final night, Saturday, March 4th.
Robin Hood has a special place in the heart and history of the Ramelton Pantomime. When the curtain opened in the Town Hall on the 2nd. January 1956 it was the choice of production and the rest, as they say, is history.
The story has been told in many versions and forms for centuries but for those over 60 it will always be associated with the Richard Greene A.T.V. series of the 1950’s. Robin Hood is the archetypal legend in that the story cannot be verified, he is the ultimate hero of our wishful thinking, and never was one needed so badly. The established version is that he protected the poor from oppression while King Richard 1 was off fighting in the Crusades, (3rd. leg), sorting out the Middle East. That was 1190 - its’ a work in progress!
In pantomime terms the legend, somewhere along the line, combined with the tale of the Babes in the Wood so that our swashbuckling hero manages to rescue the Babes who have been abducted by the evil Baron, their uncle, who wants to inherit their castle. Well, it is a family show!
The cast is that familiar mix of experienced players and exciting new talent. The show opens with the Baron (Brian Winston) lording it over the villagers at his garden fete. The fete is in honour of his two young wards, the Babes (and oh what Babes! – Damien Duffy and Maggie Durning) who are due to arrive. The Sheriff (Noel Patterson) comes to warn the Baron and guests of robbers in the area. After the fete the Baron meets up with bumbling would-be crooks Martin Duffy and Mickey McHugh and hatches his evil plot with them. The Dame (Tony Wilkinson) then arrives as a carer for the Babes and the scene is set for a hilarious series of mishaps and comic mayhem.
As pantomime is, of course, the original of the romantic comedy genre there must be a love story. The handsome hero Robin Hood (Fionn Robinson) meets up with the beautiful Maid Marian (Carly Bryant) but keeps his identity secret and (spoiler alert!) - Good triumphs and true love runs smooth.
Veteran Tom Egan came to the hall to collect his wife in 1988 and ended up as Daddy Bear! This year he has groan, sorry, grown into the part of Friar Tuck.
The new blood this year comprises Darren McNamee and Johnny Coonan as Little John and Alan-a-Dale respectively. The enchanting Fairy Queen, who safeguards the Babes, will be played by Rachael Boyce. The children’s scene is a very special part of the Ramelton pantomime. This year, the children are Forest Fairies and Robin’s Little Helpers. The part of the Spirit of the Forest in this scene will be shared by Amelie Patterson and Celine Callaghan.
The production team of Tony & Patsy Boyce and Jean Winston has been busy all winter marshalling the troops in all the component compartments it takes to fashion a pantomime production. The backdrops to the scenes display the colour, depth and sharp perspective that only a true artist like John Harkin can produce. The choreography has again been devised by our long established dancing duo Elaine Ferry and Gerald McFadden. Robin Hood was also a first toe in the water for our musical director Ronan Doherty playing keyboards in the 1992 production.
A visit to a pantomime may be a child’s first experience of live theatre. If that experience is magical enough, it can leave a lasting impression. In a world where children (and adults!) are surrounded by computer games, smart phones, DVD’s and the all-pervasive influences of television, a visit to a pantomime could be a catalyst.