Go on, get lost with the Babes

Babes in the Wood panto Arbroath cast.
Babes in the Wood panto Arbroath cast.

Getting lost in the woods has never been so much fun as this year’s panto at the Webster invites readers on an epic adventure.

‘Babes In The Woods’, by MJ Cox Productions in association with Angus Council, at the Webster Memorial Theatre has everything except the kitchen sink!

There is music, dancing, drama and comedy, in short, something for the entire family. Our visit to the show coincided with that of a number of primary schools, just the kind of vocal audience you need at a panto!

Sadly, we will have to pass on the request by one little boy that we give the panto 10,000 stars in the review, simply because we don’t use a star rating (and if we did, it would probably top off at 10).

The principal cast numbers only five, and apart from the titular Babes, each plays at least one other role, making this a great test of the dramatic chops and of the old quick-change.

Mark Cox (Still Game) shows his versatility racking up the most ‘faces’, playing a jester, a prophetic owl called Brian, reluctant hero Robin Hood Character, the fabulously villainous Carlos and Mammy of the Babes.

Callum Cuthbertson (Gary: Tank Commander) switches between sweet old Uncle Jim, a naïve and easily tricked character and the greedy rogue Sasha, brother of Carlos.

The two female villains, the fraudulent Auntie Brenda and the wicked witch Adnerb, were played with relish and a proper evil streak by Floss Ross.

Great at working a room were Kirstin MacLean and Gavin Wright, the Babes Anastasia and Hugh, who find themselves lured into the Right Creepy Woods and abandoned to a grisly fate.

Their roles demanded a lot, from singing tunes like a seasonal version of Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’ and ‘Roar’ by Katy Perry, to dancing, slapstick, and really getting the audience invested in the action.

Speaking of dancing, the energy, tightness and fluidity of the young dancers under the tutelage of choreographer J.J. Christine were a real credit to her.

The dancers are: Lucie Cheghall, Niamh Corbett, Zoe Lindsay, Abby Mitchell, Eloise Robertson, Leah Watson, Kezia Adam, Abby Easton, Amy Hood, Lois McIntosh, Adrianna Montes, Nicole Stoddart and Pippa Van Wees.

For a character with no actual lines, Rafal Blaszczyk as the hideous monster with a heart, Clatty, conveyed a lot of feeling with his animalistic grunts.

The work of wardrobe mistress Zoe McSorely on the fantastic costumes and designer Robin Peoples must be applauded.

David Goodall, in his dual role as musical director and director, should be well pleased with his team and can revel in the enthusiastic reaction of his young audiences.