IT TAKES a certain finesse to make fully grown audience members shrill “He’s behind you!” at the tops of their voices.
Greenwich Theatre is set to do just that and more when it unveils the ingenious Robin Hood – A Pantomime Adventure later this month.
Actor Andrew Pollard, in the role of Maid Marion’s nurse, aka the pantomime dame, is going full throttle for the festive season.
He said: “I’ve been writing pantos for eight years, acting in them for seven and this year, for the first time, I’m directing it as well. So I am a bit exhausted.”
“Some people have been coming for years and so they want to hear the same jokes, but we also include touches to keep it modern.
“Pantomimes have always used ways to remain cutting-edge. There was one in 1901 which had an electric stage waterfall, just as electricity was coming in.”
The 51 year-old actor enjoys having a chance to flex his comedy muscles, saying: “Normally, I play straight roles like solicitors so it’s fun playing the dame.”
Actress Caroline Koutsoudes plays Sheriff of Nottingham's wicked housekeeper, Conseula, and also enjoyed getting into character.
She said: “I took a break from panto for a few years but I really wanted to come back and do this because it was such a feisty, gutsy role.”
And it’s not only the actors who are not the only stars: the theatre invests in costume designers to ensure the production is picture-perfect.
Artistic and Executive Director James Haddrell said: “Most theatres recycle their costumes or rent them but we spend as much as possible at Christmas because it’s when most people come to see us.
“We appoint a costume designer in January who spends the rest of the year fleshing out designs and sourcing fabrics from anywhere including Deptford and Lewisham, although one even bought back fabrics from her holiday in Marrakesh.
“As long as the materials are sparkly, we’ll go anywhere to find them.”
Robin Hood – A Pantomime Adventure will be playing at the Greenwich Theatre, in Croom's Hill, from November 22 until January 6.
For more information, call 020 8858 7755 or visit greenwichtheatre.org.uk