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Review: Stratford East's Robin Hood panto

PUBLISHED: 11:16 17 December 2015 | UPDATED: 13:31 18 December 2015

Derek Elroy as Nurse in Stratford East Theatre Royal's Robin Hood. Photo: Robert Day

Derek Elroy as Nurse in Stratford East Theatre Royal's Robin Hood. Photo: Robert Day

Robert Day

Breakdancing merry men, a mincing Sheriff and a coconut-clad Dame who puts the hammy into StratEastHam are not who you might expect from a Christmas pantomime.

Nadia Albina as Maid Marion in Stratford East Theatre Royal's Robin Hood. Photo: Robert DayNadia Albina as Maid Marion in Stratford East Theatre Royal's Robin Hood. Photo: Robert Day

“Oh yes they are!”

Okay, maybe so. Director Kerry Michael’s Robin Hood doesn’t rip up the rule book when it comes to creating your favourite characters, but it expertly pays its dues to the time-honoured medium while exercising delicious irreverence.

A Bill Nighy-type Prince John (Michael Bertenshaw) creeps and connives his way around the no-frills set, his nastiness a continual delight. Meanwhile Robin (Oliver Wellington) plays the arrogant hero who cannot see beyond his sizeable ego. His merry men, who undergo a series of musical revelations, are as vital to the Robin role as they are hugely entertaining.

Audiences unused to seeing actors with any sort of disability will quickly get used to Maid Marion (Nadia Albina), who hits the bull’s-eye with her fiesty portrayal of a damsel with a difference.

But with all the titillating tunnel sequences and public squashings in the world, it’s Nurse (Derek Elroy) who steals the show. Marion’s audience-flirting, booty-loving right-hand man/woman is the voluptuous icing on this tasty cake of a pantomime.

Robin Hood runs until January 23. Tickets £5-£27.50, with concessions available on all performances. To book tickets call the box office on 020 8534 0310, visit stratfordeast.com or book in person at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN.

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