Meet the Boyz in the Robin Hood at Oakwood TheatreBy Caroline Cook
December 03, 2010
Sir Robin of Locksey wearing a hoodie? That’s a new one. Caroline Cook plays Maid Marian to find out more
The tale of the outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor is a familiar one, and promises daring adventure as he saves the damsel in distress.
Fans of the classic story are well versed in the roguish charm of the folklore hero but never before has Robin Hood been seen popping and locking his way across the dance floor, while wearing a hoodie.
In a twist on the classic tale Mo’s Pantomime Company is bringing Robin Hood and His Merry Hoodies to the Oakwood Theatre in Woodley. And with a choreographer who has danced alongside Michael Jackson and hip-hip superstar Chris Brown, the show is set to be a modern masterpiece.
Monica Cleaver, principal at Mo’s Dance and Drama school, says: “We tend to do our pantomime in a very traditional and old fashioned way but we thought, as hip-hop is so in, it would be great to do something different.
“I went along and saw Libby Putney, who was dancing like hip-hop group Diversity, and asked her if she would come and choreograph the show.”
With Friar Tuck and his followers wearing hoodies, and the cast dancing to popular up-to-date hip-hop tunes, the show will pull the 14th century legend into the 21st century with touches of wit, adventure and romance along the way.
Monica explains: “We’ve got references to duck houses and taxes although we’ve had to change some things as politicians have changed a bit recently. With the way things are in the recession the Robin Hood story is brilliant.
“We’ve got Friar Tuck in a hoodie and then you have the Sheriff as well. It’s not how
I would normally go about choosing costumes for a pantomime. It’s stretched us because, after the last 27 years, I have been doing something completely different. It’s good fun and the kids are enjoying it.”
The 22-strong cast, made up of children aged six to 16 who attend Mo’s Dance and Drama School, have been perfecting their dance moves in preparation for the pantomime.
Monica said although the story has been given a modern twist it will include all the necessary pantomime traditions including audience interaction and cries of “He’s behind you!”
She promises: “In pantomime you get the comedy, the pathos, the sadness and the happiness. It’s a different sort of show to traditional theatre.
“It does something to people when they are in panto and we have got some pupils who are outstanding.
“Some of the pantomimes these days have lost their original concept and a lot of them go over the children’s heads. I think pantomimes have got to be what they used to be with very good family humour.”
And the show will also be good preparation for the festive season as one scene takes place at a party and audience members will be decked out with party hats and streamers to join in the fun.
Having started Mo’s Dance and Drama School 27 years ago in a three-story dance studio in London Street, Reading, Monica is looking forward to creating a show for the 21st century and letting Robin Hood rock the stage like never before.
- Robin Hood and His Merry Hoodies will be at the Oakwood Theatre at the Oakwood Centre in Headley Road, Woodley on Saturday, December 11, and Sunday, December 12, with performances at 1pm and 5pm.
To buy tickets call 07977 836865 or email email@example.com.
Tickets are £10 for adults and £8 for concessions.