A monster wolf in the cellar, an X Factor winner and a Dame whose costumes are more colourful than the Notting Hill carnival can only mean one thing - pantomime is back in town.

After a two year absence due to the pandemic the cast appearing in Robin Hood at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham gave the audience a dose of pure magic that we have all missed. If you want to banish any post pandemic blues you will not find a better pick me up in Nottingham.

Tristan Gemill is probably best known for playing Robert Preston in Coronation Street, he continues the “baddie” role playing the Sheriff of Nottingham to perfection, even when the jokes were running thick and fast his face never moved.

Matthew Kelly years of playing pantomime Dame’s was evident in his role as Dame Tilly Tuck whilst seasoned actress Jodie Prenger was a delight as the fairy - The Spirit of Sherwood.

Former X Factor winner Matt Terry excelled as a being the charming Robin Hood though as one of the leads in the panto he perhaps could have been included in the show more than the scenes he was actually in.

Lucy May Barker as Maid Marian was as sweet as chocolate but it was the comedy of Phil Walker as Silly Simon that received some of the best laughs of the night. Sticking to the tried and tested style of comedy his perfect timing reminded me of Bobby Ball and Yorkshire’s Billy Pearce.

The younger members of the audience and even the older ones too were enthralled with ventriloquist Kieran Powell as Alan-A-Dale. His comical sketches matched his unexpected excellent singing voice. A natural on stage Powell is a name to look out for.

Dance troop Flawless as The Merry Men amazed with the dance moves especially on the routine that was accompanied by Jamiroquai’s Canned Heat.

The 12 Days of Christmas routine has been done in pantos now for many years but no matter how many times you have seen it your sides still ache with laughter.

No one scene is too long for younger minds to wander as it is a fast paced production with some amazing special effects and even a surprise Russian circus performer, Denis Remnev dazzling in the second half of the panto.

A night of pure joy from beginning to end.

Runs until Sunday 9 January 2022

Photo credit: Whitefoot Photography