Hi-5’s Chris Edgerley (CITV) takes to the stage as Robin Hood in a new panto version heading for Horsham’s Capitol (Wednesday, May 27, 5pm and Thursday, May 28, 11am and 2pm).
“It’s a terrific show that we have been having a lot of fun with,” says Chris.
“We opened on March 27 and we started rehearsals a couple of weeks before that. We are on the road until the end of May, covering the Easter and May half-term period really.
“It’s basically a pantomime, but obviously without a lot of the Christmas things. We don’t do song sheets or the ghost gag or ‘He’s behind you!’ But the rest of it is there, really a family musical, with a bit of a Monty Python feel to it all.”
As Robin, Chris sets out to put right the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham who rules over the good people of Sherwood, collecting taxes to pay for his own evil plans. Silly Willy Scarlet (Tom Swift) is eager to help and join the Merry Men (Britain’s Got Talent comedy impressionist Philip Green as Little John, and from Harry Potter and Channel 4 Seven Dwarfs Josh Bennett as Big John).
The auditions for Sherwood’s Got Talent are the perfect distraction as the Sheriff kidnaps Maid Marian 5 but will Robin Hood and his very Merry Men be able to rescue her in time?
The show comes from Chris’ Wicked Productions, which he set up with Tom Swift and with Carla who is also in the cast.
“We began it six years ago in Southborough (Tunbridge Wells). We did a Christmas show, and for the past six years, we have been doing Christmas pantos at Tunbridge Wells. Last year Harlow Playhouse showed an interest, and last Easter we did The Wizard of Oz at Tunbridge Wells and then Harlow.”
This current tour is seeming the natural next step.
“We have built up a massive reputation. In the first year, we were doing 46 per cent, and then in the second year it was 80 and then in the past three or four years, we have been doing 96 or 97 per cent. It was about time to grow and expand the company, and really the only way to do that is to tour. This is our biggest tour and our first tour!
“It’s a massive risk because we are going to areas where obviously we don’t have a reputation and where we won’t have word of mouth. But in all the venues we have been so far, we have been really well received. Many are booking us up for next Easter when we will be doing Rapunzel.
“Lots of venues are saying ‘When are you coming back?’”
So far, Chris reckons, the secret of success has been to cater for everyone: “We make sure it is up to date. We do animations and projections, and the company are so tight. It’s very good writing, and we just seem to tick all the boxes. It’s all quite quick-witted. There are jokes there for the children and there are jokes there for the adults, but we are never ever smutty. We would never ever go there.
“And we all get on really well. There is a lot of energy and rapport between us, and when the audience get involved with that as well, they can really feel the electricity of the show.”
See www.RobinHoodTour.com. Tickets on 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com.