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REVIEW: Robin Hood, Jim Bowen, and a ‘bit of meat’. Review of the Congress Theatre’s Christmas pantomime

cast of robin hood wave to the audience
Robin Hood at the Congress Theatre runs until Friday 30 December 2022

Watching the Sheriff of Nottingham (Sir Boris Trumpington) pop on a giant pair of glasses and start doing a Jim Bowen impression and watching people in the audience aged from eight to 80 howl with laughter is what panto is all about.

The eight-year-olds had no idea what the Sheriff was doing last night in front of the archery board but it didn’t matter. By this point in the show lines like this are ageless: “Stay out of the black and into the red, Nothing in this game for two in a bed” and “B.F.H. Your bus fare home”. They are delivered funny and you’re in the mood to laugh so all ages win.

I’ve been going to the Christmas panto at the Congress Theatre for around ten years with my wife, daughter and mother-in-law. We once made the mistake of heading to one of the big, city centre theatre shows at Christmas. Never again; traffic chaos, expensive car parks, overpriced tickets, rip-off ice-cream. I could go on. I’m not knocking anyone who goes to watch them. But don’t forget you can have a brilliant matinee experience here in Cwmbran (with free parking) and be back home wrapping your presents by 6pm.

This top-quality show from Rainbow Valley Productions ticked every box in the Panto fan’s wishlist. We had local jokes, dayglo costumes, a panto dame, water pistols, feather tiaras, pirate swords, glowing fans, and lots and lots of innuendo.

One final teeny weeny script spoiler And really it’s just a check to make sure one particular member of the audience is ok.  Nanny Nellie Knickerbocker, Frankie and Benny were sat on a log watching out for the big, bad wolf. Nanny Nellie Knickerbocker said she would like a vegan burger and Frankie (or may have been Benny) suggested she may prefer “a bit of meat”.

Well, a woman sat in the front row nearly fell out of her chair. I could hear her laugh and I was sat at least ten rows behind her. She was buckled over, proper belly laughter. The three cast members spotted her immediately and started a quick bit of ad libbing and actually asked if she was ok.

Finally, the young dancers from the Starlight Dance Company were fab and appeared in so many scenes they must be shattered and looking forward to a few days off before their next performance on Tuesday 27 December.

Tickets for Robin Hood

Visit the Congress Theatre’s website for tickets. It runs until Friday 31 December.

  • Adult- £17.50
  • Child- £13.50
  • Over 60’s- £13.50
  • Student- £13.50

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REVIEW: Robin Hood, Jim Bowen, and a ‘bit of meat’. Review of the Congress Theatre’s Christmas pantomime