BABES IN THE WOOD 2012
This year, Tony is both wrote and directed the show…‘Babes in the Wood’ is one of the oldest of pantomime stories – beginning life as a ballad in 1595, it was first staged as an opera, before becoming a pantomime as “Harlequin and Cock Robin: or The Babes in the Wood” at Drury Lane in 1827. I like to ring the changes when it comes to creating my pantomimes, so instead of casting children who get abandoned in the woods by their wicked Uncle, I decided that our babes should be two princes, who then meet two more ‘babes’ (girls who live in the woods). The storyline often features Robin Hood, played by a principal boy (a girl dressed as a boy like Sinbad last year), but I thought that this just complicated the main thrust of the story, so I have made everyone end-up cross-dressed, which is much more fun!
Last year, we explored all the possibilities of acrobatics – but this year’s speciality is puppetry and you’ll discover many different creatures in this version of the story, which also means I can have many more characters on stage!
The musical style this year is Klezmer – a Yiddish, gipsy style of music that suits of eastern European, fairytale setting of the story. As always, the music is live and acoustic, played by our talented pit duo of Barr & Jack, accompanied by all the members of the cast. This year’s younger members of the company have all been recruited through open auditions for the first time and have had to learn all the pantomime skills of acting, singing, dancing, stage management, comedy and teamwork. Our success is only possible with the support of such an enthusiastic team – both on stage and behind the scenes. I last created a “Babes in the Wood” pantomime fifteen years ago, when I was Artistic Director of Wakefield Theatre Royal & Opera House, it’s a real pleasure to be revisiting the story again with my third in-house pantomime for the Georgian Theatre Royal. We have rapidly gained a reputation for the creating the best family pantomime in Yorkshire and I believe that Babes in the Wood will establish us as the best in the north.
Tony Lidington – writer & director
The Georgian Theatre Royal’s 47 show run of “Babes in the Wood”, written and directed by Tony Lidington, has now come to an end. Here’s what some people said about it:
“That master showman and esteemed performance historian Tony Lidington creates pantomimes that are so wonderfully appropriate for the Georgian Theatre Royal. They explore elements and aspects of our showbusiness heritage but are not steeped in aspic. They are alive, vital, bursting with wit and spontaneous energy.”
Kevin Berry, The Stage
“Nursey Goodnight is the priceless Dominic Goodwin, a one-of-a-kind Dame who can produce a ripple of laughter with the flick of an eyebrow and a tsunami of the stuff even with a bad joke”
Helen Brown, British Theatre Guide.
Of the ensemble cast: “The potential Kate Middletons are played by Sarah Kearsley and Katie Tranter, with Andy Kelly and Tom Burton as the princes and these four were excellent. Penelope McDonald is a poetically eloquent woodsprite and Gary Bridgens is in authentic Leeds-market-barkermode as the villain. The cast also plays instruments alongside the versatile duo Daniel Bowater and Jack Burton”
Pru Farrier, Darlington and Stockton Times.
“One of the joys in this treasure-chest of a show comes from the delightful puppetry, the miniaturising of the characters, and – rare in these days – a rattling good story to follow. You could take your granny, you could take your mid-thirties bachelor vicar, you could take your five year old and all would relish the show.”
Stephanie Preacher, York Press.
Directed by Tony Lidington. Written by Andrew Pollard.
Here’s an account of the show from the Georgian Theatre Royal website:
You would think after the success of Mother Goose that producing the Adventures of
Sinbad would have been a walk in the park, but we don’t like to sit on our laurels here, so the Adventures of Sinbad had to be bigger and better!
We used the same creative team as Mother Goose but we adjusted a few positions. We wanted to make The Adventures of Sinbad a real showstopper of a piece; we even turned the entire Theatre into a ship!!
We organised a fantastic banana knit-athon where we achieved our target for 1,000 knitted bananas, we even had them from Cyprus and America! Our Dame caused chaos with her ‘Day Out’ around Richmond and we had so many entries to our Dame Donnas Fruit pudding competition!
The Adventures of Sinbad was a real action-packed sea adventure for all the family. We met exotic dancers, cheeky monkeys, astounding acrobats and fantastical sea creatures. It really was a journey not to be missed but it does mean we have set the bar just a little bit higher for Babes in the Wood this Year!
Helen Brown British Theatre Guide
“Their show is wildly, ceaselessly entertaining but, most importantly, a thing of considerable beauty.”
Kevin Berry, The Stage
MOTHER GOOSE 2011
Directed by: Tony Lidington
Written by: Andrew Pollard
Starring Dominic Goodwin as Mother Goose.
For the first time ever, the Georgian Theatre Royal produced its own professionally cast pantomime, supported by the Janet Seymour School of Dance, Reeth. The classic fairy tale Mother Goose was directed by the well known actor and producer Tony Lidington who has starred in Joey King of Clowns and Dan Leno both in Richmond and around the UK. Mother Goose was played by the fantastic Dominic Goodwin who is a well known face around The Georgian Theatre Royal and was accompanied by a talented and versatile cast.
This exciting traditional pantomime promises fabulous music, dance and comedy in a very family-friendly version of this popular tale. Richmond boasts the perfect venue to introduce children of all ages to live theatre, being a historic Georgian playhouse and one that’s so intimate you will start believing you are on stage with Mother Goose and friends! Did you see Mother Goose? Feel free to post comments!