Several children from Years 5&6 were lucky enough to become ‘Primary Reporters’ for the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton over the Christmas break. The children went along to a performance of this year’s popular pantomime ‘Robin Hood’ and then after the show they went backstage to meet and interview Ashleigh Gray who played the ‘Spirit of Sherwood’; Ashleigh recently played the role of Elphaba in the West End Show ‘Wicked’.
Here is their special report:
What would you like for Christmas? A new bike, the latest technology, a pony perhaps? Let us tell you, the best present of all to unwrap would be tickets to the hilarious, action packed, rib-tickling performance of ‘Robin Hood’ at the Mayflower Theatre. It is a show that will stay with you long after the curtains close, a show that will delight and enthrall the whole family
From the moment the curtains rise, excitement will bubble up inside of you as you become completely involved in life at Sherwood Forest. Shane Richie makes an excellent, rather cheeky Robin Hood, sharing the stage with Jessie Wallace who plays the beautiful Maid Marion.
The story begins when the fantastically wicked Sheriff shares his dastardly plan to rule Sherwood and marry the reluctant Maid Marion. With the great archery contest coming up, will the Sheriff succeed in his quest to steal Maid Marion from Robin or will our hero give us the fairy tale ending we hope for?
The pantomime was full of twists and turns, song and dance, topped off by amazing magic tricks by Merlin the magician, that still have us confused, not to mention the fantastic special effects!
Putting on our 3D glasses, one of our favourite parts was when we were dragged down deep into the depths of the forbidden forest while scary creatures emerged from every corner. We were sucked down tunnels as gleeful shrieks from the amazed audience echoed in our ears. We held our breath as a collection of creepy crawlies threatened to come just a little too close to us! Fantastic!
Although we enjoyed booing and hissing at the villainous Sheriff, we couldn’t help but admire his inventive pre-historic surprise. We won’t spoil it for you though!!
The brilliant songs got the audience moving and grooving and we especially liked the inventive use of utensils as drums! We sing the twelve days of Christmas at school in assembly, but never the hilarious version we heard during Robin Hood – our teachers don’t seem to know the real words so perhaps we will teach them!
After the show, what a pleasure it was to meet the beautiful and talented Ashleigh Gray. The breath-taking Ashleigh plays the part of The Spirit of Sherwood – perhaps
the most glamorous role in the pantomime! Following in the footsteps of her idol, Julie Andrews, she has an incredible singing voice and enjoys performing on stage. Ashleigh recently performed in the West End production of ‘Wicked,’ where she played Elphaba (the wicked witch of the west.) In Wicked, she sang a song about loathing someone but, when we spoke to her, Ashleigh told us that in real life she doesn’t loathe anyone! In fact, she told us that, just like a real fairy, she likes everyone and said that Shane Richie is just as funny off stage. Ashleigh admitted that she sometimes gets stage fright and shared with us the moment when the finale went wrong in a performance of ‘Wicked.’ She smiled ‘ The flying mechanism didn’t work and I had to think very quickly about how to act!’
We were lucky enough to have a quick acting lesson with Ashleigh where we learned the secret of looking like magical spirits ourselves! It’s quite hard looking ‘floaty’ all the time but, holding the wand, we think we cracked it!! Ashleigh said that if she could play any other character in the pantomime it would be Friar Tuck!! We agree that the ‘Friar for the Messiah’ is a great character and had us crying with laughter but think Ashleigh is a big star in her own role as The Spirit of Sherwood.
Robin Hood at the Mayflower Theatre is the best Christmas treat for the whole family. An entertaining, fun and hilarious, side-splitting show!
Oh yes it is!!