This may just be the highlight in the lead up to the holidays.
I was on the hunt for some holiday cheer. This year has been a particularly heavy one as far as world events go. And maybe it’s because I’ve struggled explaining the challenges and tragedies to my now older kids in TOw. So more than ever, I was hungry for some real laughs and silliness for the whole family.
And we found it at Robin Hood – a Merry Magical Pantomime. Presented by Toronto eastenders Rob Torr and Stephanie Graham of Torrent Productions, the two-hour performance is on now until December 24, 2016 at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #001 at Coxwell and Gerrard in the city’s east end.
Truthfully I may have missed half of it as I spent most of the time watching my little guys laugh their butts off with smiles from ear to ear. My own cheeks hurt at the end.
As with all good pantos (our first intro was with Ross Petty’s Annual Holiday Musical last year), there are outrageous characters, super sing-alongs and the perfect dose of kid and adult humour. (My boys are still talking about a Little John’s – played by Kevin Aichele – sprint around the Legion in underwear.) And I loved Maid Marion’s (Cynthia Hicks) high kick for Hillary.
The story follows a bad-guy vs. good-guy plot where my guys could embrace with boo’s at the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Greg Campbell), cheers for Robin Hood (Al Braatz) and constant laughs with Nurse Tickle (Stuart Dowling) and Pinch (Ryan Brown). The full cast and musicians are top-notch talented. And it was a special treat to have them come down after the show and say hello and high-five the little ones in the crowd.
So check it out yourself and help make this the first of many annual musicals in the hood.
Getting there: The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 1 is located at 243 Coxwell Ave in between the Beach and Leslieville neighbourhoods. Some free street and parking lot (limited parking at the Legion and behind the old No Frills) and paid street parking along Gerrard St. E. Also accessible via TTC 506 Carlton streetcar and 22 Coxwell bus.
Low-down: On until December 24th. 7 p.m. evening shows plus three matinées: Wednesday and Thursdays at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for Children 12 and under and $35 for adults. Buy online to guarantee your spot or purchase in person at the box office. There are two acts and one 20-minute intermission. Check out the Facebook link below for a short video about the show.
Venue and snacks: The Legion is cozy and casual with a great community feel. You can bring your own food and drinks or purchase snacks at the canteen during intermission. Washrooms on-site.
For kids 6 and up: Panto is such a fun way to introduce kids to theatre. For all parents, keep in mind and prep your kids if needed that there is a mean guy and two scary wolves and talk of killing of Robin Hood, which could frighten some. When the curtains closed for intermission, my four-year-old looked at me worried and said “but the good guys haven’t won yet!”The villains, of course, are defeated and the adult humour will likely go over the kids’ heads.
In the Hood: A number of neighbour businesses get a shout-out during the show, so be sure to check them out. Guaranteed family-friendliness at Lazy Daisy’s Café and Swag Sisters Toy Store across the street on Gerrard.
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