Pantomime is always a favourite no matter what your age. Whether you bring your kids, grandchildren, or maybe even yourself along to the annual shows, there is nothing better to get us in the festive spirit than a good old-fashioned South Wales panto.

After an enforced pandemic break, The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre in Newport finally welcomed the return of their festive family pantomime and what an adventure it is – ‘Oh Yes It Is‘.

We were at the opening of ROBIN HOOD and were magically transported to the Newport Forest (The Riverfront) for an all singing, all dancing time with a fantastic cast and production.

We spoke to some of the audience after the show, who gave it a massive thumbs up. We also chatted to John and Maria Jones, the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Newport, and also Richard Ellis who plays Much in this year’s production.

All images below are by Kirsten McTernan.

ROBIN HOOD NEWPORT – AUDIENCE REACTION

This was our first (of many) panto this season and we certainly kicked it off in style. The production is bright and colourful and full of everything which makes this annual treat so special.

The sets, costumes, music and cast are all fist rate. I also want to give a special mention to the entire team at The Riverfront. For me, a theatre experience begins long before you take your seat in the auditorium. You want to settle down feeling welcomed and relaxed. The staff were excellent at doing just that and really entered into the festive spirit of it all.

Just one point, which I hope you notice when you go to see the show. During the big production number at the end of the performance the cast sign (BSL) some of the lyrics. I thought it was a really nice touch and really added to the inclusivity of the venue itself.

ROBIN HOOD hits the bullseye with this is family-friendly, fun, traditional and hilarious production. There’s music, dancing, a really great set, brilliant cast, and, of course, plenty of laughs

I think the audience review above says everything else so let me introduce you to the cast.

Newport favourite RICHARD ELIS returns as Much the Millar’s son, who is desperate to be one of the Merry Men and is joined by GERAINT RHYS EDWARDS who returns to play Robin Hood himself. You may well remember them for their memorable performance together as the Ugly Sisters in 2019/2020’s record-breaking pantomime Cinderella.

Robin Hood strives to win the hand of the beautiful Maid Marion while he and his trusty band of followers outwit the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Enjoy this timeless tale as the remarkable Robin saves the day; in a show packed full of comedy, slapstick, action, music, dazzling dance, adventure, and of course plenty of Pantomime magic!

Playing the beautiful heroine and love interest of Robin Hood, Maid Marian, we have RHIANNON PORTER. Best known for her position as a finalist representing the UK in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Rhiannon has a wealth of performance experience and it shows on stage. Rhiannon has a really great voice.

Joining Rhiannon on stage, GARETH TEMPEST is Dame Dotty Doubtworthy. Gareth really hits the mark as Dame Dotty, the outfits are straight from the high-street fashion boutiques and will look lovely at any festive party!! The kids really did go Dotty for Gareth.

ALED PUGH the ruthless Sheriff of Nottingham, the baddie we secretly love to hate. Best known for his hilariously Welsh character in the TV production, Stella (Tidy Productions for Sky), Aled also won a BAFTA Cymru for Best Actor in 2010 for his portrayal of Ryan in the film adaptation of Ryan & Ronnie (Boomerang). 

With touches of the great Kenneth Williams about him, Aled is the perfect Sheriff and is a great Mummy’s boy to Mandragoria.

His Mum Mandragoria is played by MALI TUDNO JONES. We booed and hissed in all the right places as she burst onto stage in a magical flash of smoke.

STEVEN ELLIOT comes in as a revamped Friar Tuck and adds an element of calm to the proceedings, which is just what you’d expect from the good Friar.

Little John becomes a Joan, Robin’s loyal sidekick and all the better for it thanks to a bundle of stage mischief in the shape of PHOEBE HOLMES. Pheobe is originally from Wrexham but is now based in London where she is a member of London’s only female Choir.

This fabulous cast are joined on stage with a fantastic ensemble: Koda Holland-Smith, Alicia Witt, Remi Ferdinand, Elliott Parry, Jordan Bowers & Chloe Bramall.

Robin Hood also sees the return of the production team behind Cinderella, Writer and Director Richard Gauntlett, Musical Director Dyfan Jones and Choreographer and Assistant Director Angela Sheppard.

Phoebe Holmes (Little Joan) and the cast of Robin Hood

ROBIN HOOD runs until Saturday 6th January 2023. You can book now and join in the panto fun in Newport Forest for the return of Newport’s ‘unmissable Christmas Treat HERE. Or you can call the box office on 01633 656757.

Tickets are £25, seniors (60 years and over), students, children and disabled customers are £23. A group of four tickets is £85.

Seats in rows AX, AY, AZ, RR, SS and TT are £15 with no further discounts.

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