FOR those who love pantomime, variety shows and good old-fashioned British comedy, HA HA HOOD! is about as perfect a production as you could get.
With an all-star cast of just four and marvellous musician Andy Pickering, it had the audience at Redditch’s Palace Theatre in hysterics throughout.
It was hard to pick any stand-out performers as all were equally as good as each other.
Su Pollard had everyone giggling away as a rather suggestive Maid Marion and Cannon and Ball played two parts each – Tommy as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Little John and Bobby Ball as Guy of Gisborne and Friar Tuck.
A fair amount of comedy came from the quick costume changes (or forgetfulness to do them) and Ben Langley – who penned the script in the latest of his HA HA series – was also superb as Robin Hood.
Like all good pantomimes, there was plenty of double entendre and visual gags in what was a loud, lively, energetic and brash comedy from the start.
Among the highlights were Su Pollard singing opera (rather impressively) to order a curry, plenty of ad-libbing and deviation from the script and an archery demonstration which saw one of the appreciative crowd take centre stage on the target.
On the subject of those watching – and in keeping with great panto tradition – you would struggle to find a show that had so much audience participation.
Everyone in the auditorium was made to feel part of the show, which they relished, went along with and had fun doing.
You could see those performing were loving every minute of their time on stage (on many occasions they struggled to keep a straight face).
The script itself offers a new take on Robin Hood, centering around a divorced Robin and Marion who have split up after ten years. The Sheriff has just been released from prison and sets his sights on the maid, who has been working as a nurse for the NHS in at Nottingham Infirmary.
Ben Langley’s previous shows – Ha Ha Holmes, Ha Ha Hitler and Ha Ha Hamlet – received critical acclaim and this production is another winner.
In keeping with Robin Hood analogies, this show will have you all of a comedy quiver – it is rich in humour and none of it is poor.
HA HA HOOD! runs at other venues around the UK between now and November 22, coming to Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre on November 3.
If you get a chance to catch it, it’s well worth seeing.
Visit www.hahahood.com , search for HaHaHood on Facebook or follow @HaHaShows on Twitter to find out more.