For 2018 Jonathan Wilkes and his panto partner in crime Christian Patterson bring the tale of Robin Hood to the Regent Theatre in Hanley
This year Jonny Wilkes celebrated his 13th Panto, and for the last ten years, he’s teamed up Christian Patterson to produce the staple Stokie focused laughfest.
On opening night A Little Bit of Stone were invited along to watch Robin Hood, set in……Stokingham!
The magnificent Regent Theatre was packed with young and old, couples, friends and families who had all turned out for the festive fun tradition.
You know the show has begun when the panto villain, The Sherriff of Stokingham (Kai Owen), stepped out onto the stage. He was greeted with the familiar and unwelcoming booooooo’s reserved for the baddies in any panto production!
To provide an element of narration to the production, we had The Spirit of Sherwood (Rebecca Lisewski), our fairy-spirit guide.
When Friar Tuck (Christian Patterson) galloped onto the stage, aboard his unique steed, the audience erupted in laughter as he delivered a series of one-liners.
It was then time to meet the hero of the hour; Robin Hood played by none other than ‘Ay up’ Jonny Wilkes. If you’ve been to one of the previous Wilkes panto’s you’ll spot the familiar elements that run through each production, judging by the laughs there were a LOT of repeat panto patrons last night!
Robin wouldn’t be the man he is without his band of merry men. We were treated to an onstage version of the Chase featuring Robin, Friar Tuck, Little John (Peter Bonner) and the absolutely hilarious and over the top Will Scarlet (Delme Thomas).
Finishing off the main cast is of course Maid Marion, played by Finley Guy who has recently graduated from the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts.
This year’s panto is chocked full of impressive singing and dancing supported by a brilliantly talented ensemble cast and the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts.
Act One closes with a magical scene that drew a fair few wows from the audience….we won’t be spoiling the surprise in our review!
After a short interval we were all back into our seats for Act Two and to find out if Robin would be able to win Maid Marion’s hand in marriage.
Back for 2018 was the use of a 3D filmed segment as we ventured into the scary forest. At this point I will throw out a spoiler, if you’ve got young or sensitive children then don’t let them watch this section. While the adults were screaming and shrieking at the visual entertainment our own children and many of those around us were in genuine tears and scared of what was happening. This was a real shame as last years interactive content felt a lot more family/child-friendly.
Thankfully once the 3D section was over the pantomime went straight back into lots of family fun with plenty to laugh at and our children loved the ‘Baby Shark’ part of the show. Then it was time for this years hilarious version of the 12 days of Christmas……..”five toilet rolls!!!”. We all thoroughly enjoyed this part of the show and our children are still talking about it and laughing!
The panto wraps with a little bit of audience participation; this year was a song S-T-O-K-E to the tune of D-I-S-C-O…..a great way to get your festive fun juices flowing!
This year’s panto is another superbly put together production that the whole family can enjoy. Johnny does a great job as ever and we have to congratulate Christian Patterson on his 10th anniversary! Delme Thomas also deserves a special mention for his hilarious performance as Will Scarlet.
There are tonnes of local references to Stoke and its neighbours, as well as references to things like the game Fortnite and the previously mentioned and ever-catchy Baby Shark song, watch out you’ll be singing it all the way home!