Babes in the Wood

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A traditional pantomime for the whole family

Directed by Stephen Lee

3rd to 19th December at Roleystone Theatre

BOO, hiss – he’s behind you!

Traditional pantomime fun for the whole family comes alive this December with Babes in the Wood, featuring song and dance, gender-swapped roles, groan-worthy jokes and an avalanche of ad-libbing.

Presented by the Graduate Dramatic Society at Roleystone Theatre, two children are abandoned in Sherwood Forest by their wicked uncle and saved from freezing to death by a good fairy who gets birds to cover them with leaves.

In the morning, they meet Robin Hood and his Merry Men, who attack Nottingham castle and force the evil Sheriff to ensure justice is done.

Director¬†Stephen Lee¬†describes ‘Babes in the Wood’ as Fun with a capital F.

“We have a dame played by a man and a principal boy, Robin Hood, who is a girl in tights and two songs specially written for the show,” he said.

“I love panto as a form of entertainment – I have written and directed five to date and still find them a pleasure to produce.

“What truly appeals to me is the history and tradition of a 300-year-old art form that is constantly changing yet always keeps, at its core, a complete irreverence and refusal to take itself seriously that is completely and totally British.

“I also find that what is often served up in Australia is only a pale reflection of the chaos and unpredictability of true pantomime.

“I take a great pleasure in presenting to everyone in Perth something that is really part of their cultural and theatrical heritage.”

Originally from the UK, Lee has a wealth of experience and successful productions behind him, including an acting stint on The Bill and directing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End and the Raduga Festival in St Petersburg.

Moving to Perth in 2002, he has appeared in The Elephant Man, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale and directed Othello, Twelfth Night, Lysistrata, A Christmas Carol and What The Butler Saw, among many others, set up The Method Studio and worked as artistic director for Attic Theatre.

Lee has won numerous Finley Awards, including best actor for The Tempest in 2003, best play for What The Butler Saw in 2004 and best director for A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2006.

He believes his biggest challenge with Babes in the Wood is making it look completely spontaneous and anarchic while, in reality, keeping the whole show on a secretly disciplined leash.

“As ever, we have a cast of about 25, a dozen songs, four different sets, magical effects, flying birds and the fun of ad-libbing and script changes,” Lee said.

“They say never work with children or animals but three of our main characters are under 12 and about half our chorus the same.”

“We have no actual animals but do have an amazing talking dog.”

“On top of everything else, it can be hilarious watching those actors who have never done pantomime learning to cope with the fact that audience booing and heckling is not only allowed but positively encouraged!”

Babes in the Wood plays 8pm December 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18 and 19 with 2pm matinees December 5, 12 and 19.

Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9397 5730 or at www.roleystonetheatre.com.au.

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