Review: Robin Hood and the Legend of the Forgotten Forest, Bristol Old Vic
Great performances, brilliant set pieces and with a quiver full of comedy, The Wardobe Theatre’s production of their devised Robin Hood and the Legend of the Forgotten Forest at Bristol Old Vic is an enjoyable examination of the story of the outlaw of Sherwood Forest.
As a mash-up of ideas and a send up of some of Hollywood’s film versions it also lacks some of the charm of the story as it moves away from some of the ingredients of the folk tales. There’s no archery contest and no robbing from the rich to give to the poor – and no traditional portrayal of Robin and Marion, and a distinct lack of merry men.
Apart from the obvious changes with a damaged and grumpy female Robin (Kerry Lovell) and a ferociously aggressive Maid Marion (Katja Quist) the story centres on shy schoolboy JJ (Alex Roberts) who lands in 12th century Nottinghamshire to meet his heroes. With unbounded enthusiasm he rallies the disparate band together to carry out a heist on the Sheriff of Nottingham’s castle.
As a devised play there is something of a committee feeling to the story with numerous creative ideas and in-jokes that appeal to adults of a certain age. Green tights, Kevin Costner, Errol Flynn and Disney are the butt of several send-ups which were lapped up by a disappointingly small audience. There is a pantomime feel to the show with a very pantomime baddy in the Sheriff (James Newton) but no King John or Sir Guy. One for the grown-ups but a production that may disappoint those hoping for the romance of the outlaw of Sherwood Forest.
Harry Mottram is the news editor of South Bristol Voice monthly magazine and a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/