Riding through the royal forest of Sherwood on a glorious May morning, you don’t have a care in the world. Then you hear a bird call, the faint rustling of trees, and suddenly a man armed with a longbow appears in your path. He wears a feathered cap, or is that a hood? You can’t see the man’s face clearly, but you don’t have to. He is dressed in Lincoln green, the colour of Robin Hood – the most famous English outlaw of all time.
Janice Honeyman’s brand new pantomime adventure, ‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’, will give festive season audiences a reworking of the popular classic when it takes to The Mandela stage at Joburg Theatre from November 5 to December 30.
The plot combines the babes-lost-in-the-forest story with the Robin Hood legend. The young children, Hansel and Gretel, come to visit their uncle, the Sheriff of Nottingham, little suspecting that he is plotting their demise. But never fear, help is at hand – in the shape of Robin and his Merry Men, plus Maid Marian and the Spirit of the Forest.
Playing the role of Robin in his first Joburg Theatre pantomime is Izak Davel, best known to TV viewers as ‘Isidingo’s’ arrogant Bradley Haines, and whose hit recordings include ‘Verlei My’, ‘Is Jy In Of Is Jy Uit’ and ‘Vreesloos’.
Much loved panto star Desmond Dube returns to Joburg Theatre to play the jovial Friar Tuck; ‘Idols’ finalist Bongi Mthombeni features in his fifth Joburg Theatre pantomime as the dandy Will Scarlet; and leading lady of South African musical theatre, ‘Kate Normington’, will surely be wildly comic as Silly Sylviana, the Spirit of the Forest.
Also featured in ‘Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood’ are Graham Hopkins as the villainous Norman the Nasty, Sheriff of Nottingham, L J Urbani as the ever-popular panto Dame Emmarentia Ugly, Phumi Mncayi as chief lieutenant of the Merry Men, Little John, award-winning actress Candida Mosoma as Much the Miller’s Son (written with an inevitable panto twist), Carmen Pretorius as Robin’s love interest, Maid Marian, and Jaco Van Rensburg as the wandering minstrel, Alan-a-Dale.
Writer/director Honeyman once again collaborates with producer Bernard Jay on their sixteenth Joburg Theatre pantomime together. Rowan Bakker joins the team this year as musical director; Nicol Sheraton returns as choreographer; the eagerly anticipated, over-the-top sets and costumes are once again supplied by Qdos in the UK.
The earliest surviving Robin Hood ballad, ‘Robin Hood and The Monk’, dates from the 15th century. Subsequently, the legend has become one of the most popular movie and TV stories of all time, the most recent mass market adaption being the 2010 movie ‘Robin Hood’, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe.
Tickets are available by visiting www.joburgtheatre.com, or calling 0861 670 670, as well as through Webtickets and at Pick ‘n’ Pay stores.
For details of the full schedule and performance times, visit www.joburgtheatre.com.