Robin’s Hood

C Theatre's production of Robin’s Hood is a silly pantomime style show featuring the classic characters. The show is earnestly, if not skilfully, performed with fun fight scenes, but even for a children's show, the plot is on the wildly convoluted side. It takes the wind out of the jokes and the oomph out of the ending

The piece suffers from a lack of plot consistency.

King John has taken away everyone’s weapons, leaving Robin without his trusty bow. Like the original stories, Robin actually loses a lot of the fights he picks. When Maid Marian sets up a wrestling match, Robin needs the help of his friends Friar Tuck and Jill Scarlet to train and get ready. However, the Friar is pining after Jill Scarlet while Jill is trying to get Robin to notice her. The story has been modernised somewhat; gone are the bows and arrows, and hooded cloaks, replaced with wrestling and green beanie hats. However, Medieval influences are not completely banished - there are still tunics and swords a-plenty. This timeline fusion may throw off the adults, but children will roll with it.

The stand-out points of the show are the comical wrestling scenes. They were well choreographed and great to watch. King John’s performance as the over-the-top, power-grabbing younger brother of the true King Richard also never fails to raise a laugh. His rendition of Michael Jackson’s Bad is a great choice as a villain song. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast, whilst full of potential, are not as strong. Their acting seems muted and perhaps a bit shy. This means they struggle with carrying the wild plot with believability necessary for it to work. The piece suffers from a lack of plot consistency. It is surprisingly vague as to who was supposed to be the villain. King John is mostly being manipulated by Maid Marian and it is unclear as to whether she was doing this for moral or selfish reasons. The final decision regarding who gets to be in charge after the finale goes against everything that the good guys had been striving for during the show. The reliance on repeating scenes lead to their overuse and also drains the comedy from them, particularly the training montages.

The piece makes some changes to the myth. Will Scarlet is Jill Scarlet whilst Maid Marian is less the romantic interest and more a scheming self-aware troublemaker manipulating King John and Robin to do what she wants. This is in some ways a welcome breath of fresh air into the legend; it fleshes out Maid Marian from a one dimensional love interest. Unfortunately, the handling of Jill Scarlet is less astute. Jill was head over heels in love with Robin at the start, which was the source of much of the humor. Yet halfway through, she and Friar Tuck share as much as a meaningful glance, and all of a sudden her love for Robin is swept aside.

Robin’s Hood means well, and is a passably enjoyable, if messy, show for pre-existing fans of Robin Hood who feel the classics need a bit of a revamp. I cannot recommended it for anyone not already seeking out tales about Robin of Loxley. 

Reviews by M Johnson

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The Blurb

All is not well in Sherwood Forest... so Robin’s looking for a new "hood". He’s also looking for a new hat, which isn’t a hood – and, for goodness' sake, they’re not green tights, they’re jeggings! Will Marion talk some fashion sense into him? Will Jill Scarlet win the day? Will Friar Tuck manage to keep the weight off now he’s lost it? Join us for a jolly, musical romp, featuring oodles of singing, plenty of dancing and some really rubbish fighting. A laugh-a-minute adventure for children and their families.