Although Iíve appeared professionally in several versions of Babes in the Wood, itís never been one of my favourites, so I had no particular urge to write a version of my own. To begin with, itís really two pantomimes rolled into one: the original "Babes in the Wood" (based on the true-life murder of two children in Norfolkís Wayland Wood by their wicked uncle about five hundred years ago), and the pantomime "Robin Hood", which were joined together around 1795 and, to my mind, have rested uneasily together ever since. Also I have painful memories of a production in the late 1960s which left be bruised and limping for several weeks.
However, in 1993 I was approached by Newton Abbot Young Farmers to write them a forty-minute version of "Babes" for their National Pantomime Competition, which promptly carried them past 363 rival teams and into the Finals at Blackpool Opera House, collecting several awards on the way. One member of the judging panel was so impressed with their effort, she asked me to expand the version to full length which would enable her local amateur group to perform it. In 1994, this played with outstanding success and prompted a flurry of enquiries as to its availability for other groups. Having now deleted the specific requests of the Society concerned for this version, I offer it for your apreciation. As usual the staging should cause little problem. Each full-set screen is followed by a lane-cloth scene, lighting is simple and props minimal. Just keep the music bright and the pace lively, and a good time should be had by all.
The Bailiff of Nottingham
The Sheriff of Nottingham
Jil and Jack, the Babes
Nurse Glucose, their Nanny
Toyle and Trubble, two would-be villians
Maid Marion, the Sheriffís Ward
The Woodland Fairy
Much, the Millerís son
Chorus of Citizens, Merry Men, Toys, etc.
Junior Chorus of Children, Toys, Birds, etc.
For John and Carole (as a reminder of those Babes on Hook Moor).