Uckfield Rugby Club Panto

Robin Hood …Sherwood Forest to Ashdown Forest would you believe it !!

Uckfield Rugby Football Club were proud to present their first pantomime for many a long year on Saturday.

Robin Hood and his Merry Men was billed as ‘a magical Pantomime’ and it did not disappoint it even moved from Sherwood to Ashdown Forest, starring several local celebrities and even a giant squirrel!

There is a long tradition of pantomimes in rugby clubs and as you might expect, most of them couldn’t be performed in front of a family audience. URFC’s version of Robin Hood is not like that and you could take your Granny without any fear.

There are several panto virgins in this production and rehearsals were great fun. There was a pretend Frenchman played by Stephen Andre and later on in the process recruited a real Frenchman Yannick Vuillemey from the Basque country in the South of France. To hear them giving each other tips on pronunciation has been hysterical at times. Talking of pronunciation Greg Chappell’s King John has a problem with the word ‘proclamation’ and it caused his colleagues so much mirth that he changed it to ‘announcement’. cast members had great fun trying to rib him about it.

Most pantomimes have a dame, although the traditional version of Robin Hood doesn’t. With at least three cast members with experience in this most central of roles they had to create a Dame for this production and let them fight over it. Mike Walling, the winner is 6ft 4 and of generous proportions, so when he/she turned up in size 12 snakeskin 4 inch platform boots it brought the house down. In fact they almost brought him down too as he struggled to walk in them!

Two, not so bright guards have a central role and their interplay is fascinating. Gordon Buckland URFC Chairman as one of them and his comments about the yodelling competition. Tears of laughter were falling when this was first heard.

There is a lot of music, singing and dancing in this pantomime with a wide variety of musical genres explored. There are trained singers and some talented dancers, but others from the Anne Widdecome school of dancing who really struggle to move with any grace. That’s always perhaps part of the charm of a panto and this one is no exception.

All in this Pantomime had much to offer and the cast and crew had had great fun along the way. There is no doubt that everyone , who saw the show, of any age will have had a memorable experience. Over 120 attended in the afternoon and over 250 for the evening performance

The Panto was Produced by John Lewis, the Director was Sarah Cannon, the Author was Derek Tuffley
and many of the Costumes came from French’s Fancy Dress Church St Uckfield.

ALL IMAGES by Ron Hill (HillPhotographic)