Pantomime Analysis

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The basic plot is that the town of Nottingham’s evil dictator is demanding increased tax from the population. Some peasants go out to Robin Hood and his gang of merry men for help and the battle between good and evil unfolds before the audiences eyes with many twists along the way. In this production it was clear, from the very start, that the writer’s aim was to entertain the audience whilst keeping traditional pantomime conventions intertwined within the play. We were welcomed into the story by 3 narrating character; named Scurvy, Scrappy and Podge. These names give the impression of evil and the characters personalities matched their ugly names. The alliterating names of Scurvy and Scrappy contrast with the short blunt name of Podge. This is relevant because Scurvy and Scrappy seem to be close whereas Podge seems to be just a tag along. Further evidence of traditional pantomime conventions come in the form of; audience participation, eccentric costume and props, spontaneous singing and dancing and many more. The set and staging in this performance was used very effectively. The stage was a proscenium style stage, with the main part of the plot being performed inside the stage with small sections of audience addressed dialogue and monologue in front of the stage. This was a good use of staging because the audience could easily differentiate between the different parts of the play. Set changes were very slick which helped keep the pace of the story up without hindering the performance in any way. In the opening scene in the pub, boards were used to shrink the stage into a smaller area; this had the effect of making it feel cosy and jolly. The boards opened up to the audience inviting us into pub life, we could see dancing, singing and card games, and this all gave the impression of a good atmosphere. When the Duke entered all of the peasants rushed upstage and huddled together whilst the Duke and his henchmen were downstage on a small raised platform. This told us a lot about the Duke, we could understand that he is more important that the peasants and that he is feared by the peasants. Lighting played a big part in changing the mood of the scenes. The lighting helped the audience to tell the difference between good and evil very well. When the lights came up at the start of different scenes we could tell whether the characters on stage would be ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies’. An example of lights showing good was when we were first introduced into the forest where Robin Hood lived. The lights were soft greens and yellows with spotlights illuminating different parts of the stage. This felt warm and welcoming to the audience. The same scene was made to feel very different when the Duke was looking for Robin; dim lights and flashes (combined with very sinister and loud music) instantly told the audience that this is a dangerous situation, then when they found Robin the stage erupted into a red wash, portraying the sense of inevitable danger, it caused us to feel intimidated by the events on stage. Costume is always an important part of any pantomime. In this production it was used successfully to help us form our first impressions of the characters. There were 3 main types of costume in the production: a green outfit with a green hat for the ‘goodies’, a dark outfit with capes and boots for different characters who were the ‘baddies’ and a some dull rags for people who played the villagers. The huge contrast between light and dark costumes for the goodies and baddies adds to the way the characters were split up into these categories of people. The costumes stayed constant throughout to enforce this divide on stage. Green is a soft colour so when we saw a character wearing it we felt we could relax into the scene as we understood the characters intentions were not sinister. However, when we saw a person wearing black robes we could instantly tell the difference. In conjunction with the characters facial...
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