Babes in the Wood – Keighley Musical Theatre Company

THERE was an element of deja vu about my visit to Victoria Hall last Saturday to see KTMC’s pantomime “Babes in the Wood” as it reminded me of a week long ago when I was in the same show up in chilly Inverness.

The show was great fun then and it was great fun again now.

The choice of songs was excellent and all sung with a gusto that is not always apparent from a cast of such varied ages, and the dancing was wonderful.

I particularly liked the inclusion of acrobatics from those who can do that particular skill, and the directors, Peter Whitley and Judith Chapman, are to be congratulated for their creativity in using the talents of the cast so well.

The costumes, mostly made for the show, were colourful and added hugely to the vibrancy of the production, and the orchestra, ably led again by Geoff Garrett, were unrelentingly good despite, amazingly, only having had one rehearsal with the cast!

The cast were all in fine form although it would be nice to see some different faces rather than the same actors in the same roles year after year, but that is just my own very minor gripe.

Fiona Spencer was as thigh-slappingly charming as any Robin Hood I have seen and Leanne Watson did more than justice as a beautiful Maid Marion.

Mark Hutchinson looked the part as Sir Caspar but could have been even more evilly interactive with the audience, and Dean Harness and Philip Smith were as scatty as ever as the Dame and the Messenger,

I particularly liked the individual characters of the Merrie Men.The robbers too, Danny Duckworth and Bailey Roper, easily outdid my Inverness efforts for stupidity and general gormlessness and all were well backed up by the enthusiastic support cast.

There are four Babes who take the stage in turns and the two I saw were wonderfully precocious - true stars in the making. Well done kids!

After the final applause all the main players came out to have their photos taken with members of the audience which I thought was a really nice touch.

A great family show. Do catch it before it closes next Saturday!

* Visit or call 03000 301303 to check ticket availability.

Martin Carr