Kordazone Artistic Productions’ Holiday Panto is an annual Christmas tradition that’s steadily become the highlight of the holidays. This year the troupe dedicated itself to re-working Robin Hood, the legendary heroic outlaw originally depicted in English folklore. This slightly updated show, which originally premiered during Korda’s 2008 season, runs for seven more performances until Dec. 22.
This Robin Hood centers around a story where the Sheriff holds an archery match in Rottingham, hoping to lure Robin. However, Robin outwits the bad guys and comes in disguise. But of course, it’s not a Korda Panto unless the famous story is twisted around to include music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy.
The opening weekend Sunday afternoon audience was primed and ready to play along right from the beginning and this show gave plenty of opportunities to join in. There are several chants to coincide with the play, including a giant “huzzah” every time Robin’s name is mentioned, or a gastly “boo” when the Sheriff of Rottingham’s name is said out loud.
This production is playful, silly and simply outrageous – and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Some of the jokes are over the top and others so subtle you could easily miss them. In one scene, when David Lucier’s Dark Knight comes out (because you simply can’t have a Robin without a Batman), a subtle joke about a dam on the east side had a gentleman laugh with me outrageously, long after the joke was over. We just looked at each other and continued to laugh as the show carried on. It’s that kind of magic that makes Korda Panto’s the irresistible treat they really are. Even the saddest of faces would crack a smile at least once in this one.
Campy costumes, silly props and a tip of the bycoket to Tim Horton’s are a big highlight, as is the giant castle set that serves for much of the backdrop.
Colin Zorzit is a blast as Robin Hood. He prances, sings and looks great in tights. Actually, all his Merry Band members all look great in tights and they aren’t afraid to sing about it. The group, which includes both male and female characters, showcases a ragtag group including Sonali Narshana as Flynn (a nod to famous Robin actor Errol Flynn?), Brooke Dominguez as Little Red Riding Hood, Josephine Scebba as Mother Tucker, Jack Klinck as L’il John, Angelo Lucier as Big John, Claire Grona as John and Emma Dixon Arid Charlotte Bondy as Robin’s horse Bagels.
As with any tale involving royalty and the upper class, there’s a whackload of comedy to be found in their disfunction. For this production we have Jennifer Desaulniers as Prince John, Matt Alexander as the Sheriff of Rottingham and Robert Godden as Lady Lydia De Noyse. Each one had their own charm. Desaulniers slurs her words as one might expect from a drunken member of nobility, Alexander rocks it as the Sheriff and Godden gets a gold metal for his drag Lydia.
The 26-member cast have a winner on their hands. The Tim Horton’s drinking peasants were delightful and Rachel Hillis is delightful as Hilland Dale, the Minstrel of Sherwood Forest. She also serves as the main narrator who teaches the audience the different chants and calls that make the show so much fun.
Korda founder Tracey B Atin wrote and directs this fun little frolic through the forest, as well as serving as the flute and penny whistle to its three-piece Merry Band – including musical director and guitarist Robert Godden and trumpeter Maria Lynn Davis.
When it comes to panto in Windsor, Korda reigns supreme. And it also means Christmas season is upon us. Kudos to the gang at Kordazone for an enjoyable afternoon of Mother Tuckin’ fun and good times.
Robin Hood continues at the Kordazone Theatre Thursday through Saturday (Dec. 12-14) and the following weekend from Thursday to Sunday (Dec. 19-22). Tickets range from $10 for students, $15 for seniors and $20 general admission and are available at the door or in advance online. You can also reserve tickets by calling 519-562-3394 or emailing email@example.com.