Babes in the Wood

Directed by Mike Davies, assisted by Albertine Davies.  Pip Honour was Musical Director.

Mrs Piper Ben Robinson
Tom Piper Tammy Hollands
Sheriff of Nottingham Stuart Dark
Robin Hood Dee Aspell
Maid Marion Hatty Aspell
Deputy Doo-Dah Ross Bathurst
Deputy Day Rachael Bold
Sophie Citty Aspell
Simon Linus Davies
Friar Tuck Denise Jefferies
Little John Brooke Bathurst
Will Scarlet Ailsa Burois
Messenger Kathy Sterry

Babes in the Wood’ by Bob Heather and Roger Lamb

Wootton Bassett Light Operatic Society

Review of Saturday, 31st January 2016 performance

Dee Way – NODA South West Region Representative, District 14

Thank you so much for inviting me to attend your recent production of ‘Babes in the Wood’. The script was slightly adapted for the locality and extra songs were added, which made for a rather prolonged first Act. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and found the production very entertaining.

This was a production that was unpretentiously simple in some very good ways. The script was good and provided a coherent tale that was well interpreted by the set and the direction. All the elements of pantomime were there: a dame, heroes and heroines, slapstick, comedy, dance, songs, children brought on stage and boos and hisses for the baddies.

The set was effective in providing changes in location and in creating an atmosphere where the fun could start. The opening market place was simple but good, the forest was well portrayed and the changes well handled. However, the onstage blocks for Act 2 seemed tricky to use, as cast struggled to get over them for their exits.

The direction of the production was good in that no-one lost their sense of fun onstage. Multiple entrances made for good chases and variations in exits, while the Sheriff was a lovely echo of Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham in costume, delivery and nastiness! Costumes were simple but worked really well – the under-chin scarfs for the ladies looked very effective. The songs were well chosen, the pace of the show was good, and overall there was an approach to the production that I found quite refreshing.

The lighting was good and added a lot to the impact of the actors, especially when the entrances were from the middle of the hall or from behind the bar curtain. The use of the follow spots helped greatly in directing the attention of the audience for unusual entrances.

It is always good to have live music for a show, and this added a lot to the production. The music could have been better co-ordinated at times, but added a lot to the fun that was had, with the musicians well integrated into the production. The custard pie landing on the band was hilarious!

The sound levels were adequate for the size of the hall, although the actors’ voices could have been stronger at times. The use of radio mics was a problem, as ever. The timing of switching them on and the volume controls probably needed adjusting more precisely. Two highpoints for me were the inventive use of coconuts plus sound effect for the messenger’s horse’s hooves and the radio chat during the baking scene.

The choreography was fitting for the show and was well rehearsed, involving a large number of people in the big songs.

The actors did really well in holding the audience’s attention throughout the show. The level of energy onstage was high and there was a lot of good humour evident.

There were also individual comments.

Thank you once again for a delightful fun-filled production.

Dee Way

N.B. The views expressed are solely those of the attendee and can only relate to the performance seen.