ROBIN HOOD: THE MERRY FAMILY MUSICAL adapted by Malcolm Heenman, directed by Jim Warren, with Graham Abbey, Ross Petty, Nora McLellan, Rex Harrington, Simon Bradbury, Sara Topham and Amy Walsh. Presented by Petty at the Elgin (189 Yonge). Runs to January 5, Tuesday-Saturday 7 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday and others 2 pm (no show December 25 or January 1). $45-$65, children $35. 416-872-5555. Rating: NNN
ok, i admit that i pushed myself to go to Robin Hood, Ross Petty's latest Christmas pantomime. There's an audience for this kind of show, but I didn't think it was me.Guess what? I had a good time.
Yeah, it's full of corny jokes, lots and lots of audience participation -- often with the multitude of kids in the house -- and performances so broad you sometimes can't see the horizon. But that's the style, and if you go with it there's two hours of tongue-in-cheek humour.
Director Jim Warren zips the action along, Graham Abbey is a perfect boy-next-door Robin -- with a touch of Dudley Doright thrown in -- and Petty as the Sheriff of Nottingham knows just how far to push his caustic remarks and needling of the booing viewers.
In a genre that borrows shamelessly from Broadway musicals and pop melodies, it's a double pleasure to discover that as the mischief-making Forest Wizard, the National Ballet's Rex Harrington can sell a show tune and send up his ballet persona equally well.
The other joy is watching Nora McLellan as the dame, a role usually played in drag, schmacting her way outrageously around the stage and nabbing many of the laughs.
Everyday fare? No, thanks. But once a year, with a company this skilled, a panto like this delivers the laughs and the entertainment. So what if it has a glut of Elvis impersonations and hoary "walk-this-way" email@example.com