Panto has NZ flavour
Robin Hood is stepping out of Sherwood Forest and into Wellywood.
In Circa Theatre’s Christmas pantomime Robin Hood, the outlaw moves stealthily around the Town Belt and takes refuge in Zealandia, after being accused of a trumped-up charge.
Jamie McCaskill, who plays the title role, said the characters had been given a New Zealand makeover and references to Wellington and New Zealand popped up throughout the play.
‘‘It’s very current. There’s even something about the All Blacks’ loss to Australia in Hong Kong,’’ he said.
‘‘King Richard is basically Richie McCaw and Evil John is John Key, though we don’t refer to his policies; it’s tongue-and-cheek stuff. I’m sure he’s been invited, but I doubt he’ll come.’’
In true pantomime tradition there’s a dame – an ageing woman ( played by a man), who speaks directly to the audience and pursues unlikely romances. Gavin Rutherford plays Trelise Hood, a dressmaker and Robin Hood’s mother.
‘‘So there’s some cross-dressing, some beautiful music, some relevant jokes and lots of laughs,’’ said McCaskill.
‘‘It’s a lot of fun. A lot of the humour is current and I like that we can interact with the audience. It’s like Shrek in that there’s subtle adult humour, but the kids will love it too.’’
This is the first pantomime McCaskill has acted in since he was at school 17 years ago, and he is enjoying the role.
‘‘When I was 12, I was in a panto version of Dracula. Dracula as a pantomime, that was weird.
‘‘I’ve always liked Robin Hood, since I was a kid. I use to dress up as Robin Hood. It’s a great story. He a real hero for the people, the underdog.’’
It has also made McCaskill want to try archery, although real bows and arrows are not used in this performance.
‘‘I’ve never had a turn with a real bow and arrow, but I’m going to take it up.’’
Robin Hood, at Circa Theatre until December 23 and from January 4 till 15.
Pantomime pranks: Gavin Rutherford as Mrs Hood and Jamie McCaskill make sure there are lots of laughs in Circa Theatre’s latest pantomime.