Gail Burns on “Robin Hood: Fifty Shades of Green” – The Panto Loons 2012 Edition [Berkshire on Stage]
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After this past presidential election cycle, it is only natural that the Panto Loons would select Robin Hood – whose hero robs from the 1% to give to the 99% – as the story they would send up this holiday season. And considering that the Loons start writing in July and the show goes up a scant three weeks after election day, they must be very clever indeed to get the political humor just right (or in this case just left) so that the show rings true whatever the outcome.
(Quick Introduction for Panto Virgins: The British Pantomime or Panto tradition has nothing to do with what Americans know as Pantomime or Mime. There is a LOT of talking and singing and no one wears white-face or a beret. The best analogy for Baby-Boomers is to imagine the Fractured Fairy Tales segment from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show live on stage, set to music, with everyone in drag. There is a lot of topical political and cultural humor, and the songs are all new lyrics set to old standards. Its all very, very silly.)
While I recognized, happily, several jokes from their 2004 staging of this same story – the female anthropologist joke and the epithet “You flatuent anchovy!” in particular – this is an all new 2012 version, retaining only Head Loon Judy Staber’s gently sloshed performance as Friar Tuck and Johnna Murray’s perfect turn as Maid Marion, a young woman with the riches and womanly virtues of a true princess, and the speech impediment of Elmer Fudd. Her love for Wobin, er, Robin Hood (Cathy Lee-Visscher) is as unswerving as her hate for Sheriff Cockalorum of Nottingham (Sally McCarthy), whom his greedy Mother Dona Trumpet (director Tom Detwiler) wants her to marry.