Dick Meany’s updated Halloween panto, Robin Hood Meets Frankenstein, on opening night at The Strand Theatre, was everything you could expect from a panto. It was funny and topical, packed with young talent enjoying themselves and sprinkled with tried and trusted Carrick stalwarts who sang, danced, performed and acted the eejit. On a miserable winter’s night, the venue was warm, but I was enjoying myself.
Dick Meany directed and Damien O’Brien as Musical Director put fun to the fore as both of them collaborated to banish winter blues. Patricia Woods had them dancing in the aisles and Catriona O’Dwyer had them singing like larks and nightingales and the popular choice of tunes had the audience joining in with fine choruses.
Carrick had lots of children onstage and they were a well-rehearsed part of the show and must have cost a fair deal to costume them all. Nomac Costumes and Blanaid McCann’s flair was much in evidence.
Tadhg and Stephen Griffin, along with Killian O’Sullivan, were splendid Soldiers to Chris Hanlon’s modern but menacing Prince John. His three Witches were excellent – Issy Rush, Nicole Smith and the impressive Siobhan McCarthy who also shone as Cleopatra. John Stuart added gravitas as King Richard.
The three Merry Men had the audience in stitches and their costume problems made them all the funnier. Deckie Robinson, Aidan Connolly and Eamonn O’Neill, were the comic backbone of the show and O’Neill has a great comedic future before him.
Seamus Power, as Friar Tuck, was sterling stuff and he rocked in Mamma Mia. Audie Murphy was a wonderful Frankenstein Monster and he rocked the Nile as Elvis/Pharoah. Triona O’Callaghan was beautiful and beguiling as Maid Marion and her solo, Someone Like You, was excellent.
Richie Nugent, as Robin Hood, was just the right mix of hero and romantic lead. His duets with Marion were good, especially You’re The One That I Want. He rocked in Five Hundred Miles and Don’t Stop Me Now and the audience loved his energy and style.
Padraig Sheehan as the Cowboy, Sheriff Of Nottingham, was amazing as was Fergus Power as The Dame. Their byplay, foreplay, backplay and all-round play, had me in a helpless mess of laughter. They rocked in a Galway Girl pastiche and kept the fun bubbling in Mercy. It was a pleasure to be in their presence. The show runs until 2 November.