Eyemouth Youth Theatre Group appear to have another hit panto on their hands with the tale of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood.
On a wet and blustery night, the people of Eyemouth and beyond flocked to take shelter in the group’s recreation of Sherwood Forest.
And the players wasted no time in getting the action going, with Elle Drummond as Robin Hood striding forth in her Lincoln green to win the Golden Arrow archery competition.
Elle and her Merry Men provided a fantastic mix of jokes and songs, from Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ to a chorus line version of Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’ that had the audience rooting for them straight away.
The flipside of that charm, of course, is the pantomime baddy. Bill Shadlow provided the evil as the narky and conniving Sheriff of Nottingham, looking to profit from the Babes (Emma McEwan and Max McNeill) and their wealth.
It didn’t take long for Bill to have the audience booing him: cheating at archery, stealing and berating his dogsbodies will do that!
The real highlight was a series of tongue twisters at mouth numbing speed, as the Sheriff urged his henchmen to do “dark and dirty deeds” and more dastardly things beside, which if it was repeated here would probably break the ‘d’ on my keyboard!
The jeers grew more raucous in the second half as the audience really got into booing the dastardly Sheriff on his every appearance, and one gentleman in the crowd was so enjoying the performance that in a rare quiet moment he could be heard to accidentally kick over a bottle of something nice he had won in the raffle at the interval.
Back on stage, though, the Merry Men were enjoying a tipple of their own, partaking of the “firewater” and “holy water” brewed up by Friar Tuck.
The slightly less than holy Friar was portrayed to perfection as a lovable drunk by Mak Wilson, and his scenes with the Merry Men rattled on apace as he traded witted barbs - as opposed to arrows - with Little John.
Little John, played with a cheeky grin and lots of playful asides to the audience by Jack Ritchie, was the comedic heart of the merry Men.
That role on the ‘baddies’ side was enjoyed by Caitlin Lauder and Rory Fairbairn, as the Sheriff’s less than loyal henchmen, Snivel and Grovel.
The pair obviously enjoyed their anarchic double act, which involved dressing up as ghosts, blowing up safes with dynamite and, in the end, of course, realising the errors of their ways and helping Robin save the day.
The real star, as befits a traditional panto, was , of course, the Dame, and Campbell McNeil didn’t disapoint: his Nurse Nelly Nickerlastic sashayed along the line of bad taste, with some wry lines for the adults (especially the tale of the accidental Eyemouth pub crawl), and plenty of kicks up the bum for the kids to enjoy.
The stage sets throughout were wonderfully evocative, from the lovely “Olde Worlde” medieval Goose Fayre where the archery competition takes place to the forest scenes that could have been painted for Disney.
The costumes, as well, under the eye of Lillian Smith, were exquisite, and the young cast did extremely well with the many quick changes that were required of them.
Robin and Marion’s speedy change into shimmering white sparkly numbers for the finale - with the whole cast on stage for Gary Barlow’s ‘Sing’ were particular highlights.