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REVIEW: The Florians' Babes in The Wood

By SPP Reporter

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The best of the baddies: henchmen Ben (Morag Barron) and Bill (Nicola Gray) with the Sheriff (Trevor Nicol).
The best of the baddies: henchmen Ben (Morag Barron) and Bill (Nicola Gray) with the Sheriff (Trevor Nicol).

Babes In The Wood

The Florians Theatre

Bught Park

IF the Devil does have all the good tunes, then it is nice to see him sharing them out with his minions.

So in The Florians’ version of Robin Hood, the forces of evil – well, evil and incompetence – get the best musical number, a familiar and funky number set in a torture chamber.

As Lord Squeezemdry, Sheriff of Nottingham (and Marquis of Merkinch, Baron of Balifeary and Lord of Lochardil, etc, etc) Trevor Nicol makes Alan Rickman’s Christmas-cancelling sheriff look like Kris Kringle. So mean spirited that he taxes singing and laughter and enjoys nothing more than a good torture session, he is, in the best possible way, the baddest of bad guys.

Fortunately his efforts in evil are thwarted by his choice of henchmen, Bill and Ben, played with delicious daftness by Nicola Gray and Morag Barron.

Gray, sounding like an escapee from EastEnders, and Barron, speaking in an Invernessian accent as thick as sludge, make a first-class double act and are well served by Trevor Nicol’s witty script, such as the classroom scene where they indulge in a battle of banter with Nicholas Nicol as the dame, Nurse Nellie.

Always good value beneath the layers of slap, Nicky provides Nurse Nellie with an Aberdonian accent thick enough to cut neeps with while his brother’s script also provides him with a couple of naughty lines that might have gone over the children’s heads, but got their parents chuckling.

Director and choreographer Fiona MacDonald and musical director Anna Merroumi make good use of the musical numbers, including borrowing a bit of Les Miserables as Robin Hood (Katie Watson), stirs up the downtrodden locals to unseat the tyrant, something that involves a neat bit of swordplay.

There is some promising young talent on show here too, including teenager Alan Hasson as a cheeky Will Scarlet continually teasing Andrew Gull’s good hearted but none-too-bright Little John or Carla Kelly’s Friar Tuck.

There is more than enough good stuff here to compensate the audience for the rare duller parts of the show, which, as with any panto, tend to be the ones to do with the plot, and it certainly measures up to be one of the laugh out loud funniest pantos the Florians have produced in the past few years

There is still time to see for yourself. The Florians’ Babes in The Wood continues until Saturday December 12.


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