ONE FOR THE DIARY
Robin Hood The Cresset, December 8 to December 30
Folklore hero Robin Hood brings the good fight to Peterborough this week... and he will have a little help from a former Coronation Street favourite. Cresset regular Mitch Hewer (Skins and Casualty on TV) is the handsome green clad hero but his comic support comes in the form of Will Scarlet, one of his Merry Men, played by Nick Cochrane (Andy McDonald in Corrie).
“I used to play the hero, the handsome prince but I was much younger then,” laughed Nick, who will be treading the boards in panto for the 21st time, starting on Saturday. “Now I just get to play his friend, the idiot, who has a laugh with all the kids!” So what can we expect from Will Scarlet? “He is Robin’s best mate and he just wants to make sure the Sheriff gets his comeuppance ... and he will be recruiting help from the audience.
“That is what is great about panto – it is a family thing, the kids get involved and you feed back on what you get from the audience. “When something goes wrong, it is not Othello, you can just go over it again - and people love it. “So you can expect lots of laughs, plenty of cheering, shouting and audience participation, pyrotechnics and even some magic tricks - it has got something every good panto should have.”
It might be Nick’s first time at the Cresset but Mitch, of course, is no stranger having appeared in Aladdin in 2014 and Snow White last year. Also returning is regular Dame, ZachVanderfelt, who will playing it for laughs, some of them naughty no doubt, as Nurse Gertie Glucose, as well as Peter Croohan (Friar Tuck) and George Dee (Little John). Villain of the piece The Sheriff of Nottingham is another old favourite, Lawrence Stubbins, while Isabelle Lock takes on the role of Pandora the Witch, and Maid Marian will be played by all-singing, alldancing Laura
Wenton. Tickets from www. cresset. co.uk
Peter Pan Key Theatre, tonight until Jan 6
Simon Egerton’s new version of the JM Barrie classic features plenty of familiar faces for regular Key pantogoers. Rebecca Levy plays the principal boy Peter Pan; Katie Prithard is Tinker Bell; Josh Haberfield is Little Johnnie; and Robin Johnson returns as Barnacle Bill. Newcomers include Richard Costello as Captain Hook and Anthony Hoggins as the Dame - Nanny Goggins. And keep an eye on the Lost Children - played by talented young actors recruited locally.
Alice in Winter Wonderland John Clare Theatre, until Dec 8
There is still time to join Peterborough Playgoers’ world of ice, snow and festive celebration in their annual Christmas show Alice in Winter Wonderland. Alice, falls asleep on Christmas Eve and wakes in a magical land where it is always winter. In her dream, she meets several of the famous Wonderland characters, such as the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat and the Duchess, along with Santa’s hardworking elves and, of course, good old Santa. Tickets from cast members and the Information Centre, in Bridge Street.
The Journey Rosmini Centre, Wisbech, December 6
The Journey tells the story of a mother and child fleeing their devastated, war-ravaged homeland for a destination of perceived safety. To research the play writer and director Steve Lambert visited Lebanon and camps on the Syrian border to learn of the desperate measures people can be forced to endure as they strive to survive. In the UK he worked with refugee communities and support organisations as well as poet Ghazi Hussain, a former Palestinian refugee who fled Syria to escape torture.
Belshazzar’s Feast Upwood Village Hall, near Huntingdon, December 7
A celebrated Christmas show that mixes traditional folk music, seasonal material, stirring in classical, pop and music hall, all topped off with audience participation and lashings of wry humour. Paul Sartin (of Bellowhead and Faustus) and Paul Hutchinson (of Hoover The Dog) bring their eclectic and eccentric mix of tunes and between songs chat that always sends audiences home with smiles on their faces. Tickets at www.upwood.org