Robin Hood & Maid Marian
21/04/2008 - 03/05/2008
Hoodwinks and Hijinks at The Court Theatre
Daring deeds and family fun abound in ROBIN HOOD & MAID MARIAN, the April-May children’s show at The Court Theatre.
Written and directed by Ross McKellar, this fun reinterpretation of the famous legend has Robin working to thwart the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and his dastardly plan to force Maid Marian to marry him. Aided by Gentle Annie, the "best washer and drier in the land", Little John the lumberjack and the audience, Robin creates a show full of cunning plots, thrilling escapes, archery competitions with plenty of songs, dances and chances for the audience to join in the action.
In homage to fine pantomime tradition, Robin Hood is played by actress Claire Dougan, who has created a dashing hero who also sings and dances. Monique Clark (last seen in The Court’s groundbreaking children’s show Pinocchio) plays both Marian and Gentle Annie, neither of whom can be labelled "damsels in distress". Daniel Bain, fresh from The Forge’s production of Pulp William, plays the dastardly Sheriff and Gary Miller makes his Court Theatre debut in the roles of Little John, an Oaf, and a rival archer who may well give Robin a run for his money!
McKellar’s script captures the adventurous spirit of the story and adds a few delightfully kiwi twists that will entertain parents as much as the kids – particularly when they all join in the fun as part of Robin’s band. McKellar has been especially pleased with the set, transforming the cabin of Letter to Blanchy: Stir Crazy into the wild and wacky Sherwood Forest.
ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN plays from April 21 until May 3, and with tickets only $7, it’s unlikely anyone will need to rob from the rich to afford a seat! All merry young men (and women) are welcome to join Robin and Marian in Sherwood Forest at The Court Theatre!
Venue: The Court Theatre, 20 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch
Show Dates/Times: 21 April – 3 May 2008. Shows at 10am and 12pm Monday – Friday; 10am only Saturdays
Price: All tickets $7
Bookings: The Court Theatre: www.courttheatre.org.nz or phone: 963 0870
Featuring: Claire Dougan, Monique Clark, Daniel Bain and Gary Miller
Panto-style freshness and vitality
Review by Lindsay Clark 24th Apr 2008
It is a pleasant experience to be part of an excited audience, tingling with anticipation. It is even more heart warming to witness the enthusiasm lasting well into the car park afterwards. Such is the reception encountered at The Court’s current holiday treat, where tiny and not so tiny enjoyed a rollicking romance written and played with good wholesome fun in mind.
The simple story line is wisely chosen for broad appeal. True love for Robin and the Maid is threatened by the evil lust of that bad, bad Sheriff of Nottingham. A couple of skirmishes and some well defined characters bring things to a climax at a bow and arrow shooting competition, where the prize is her hand, while the Sheriff’s backside provides an entertaining target.
Crisply written, in panto style, there is no sense of the padding sometimes proffered in children’s theatre. All is purposeful and energetic in Ross Mc Kellar’s direction, resulting in whole – hearted participation from a thoroughly engaged audience. A little girl of two, seated by me, took it all in without a squeak but the general response was unreservedly vocal. No wonder we were able to scare off the guards at the castle gates so convincingly, using the old All Black haka trick.
All four ensemble members give colourful performances. As the svelte Robin Hood, Claire Dougan is a nimble and refreshingly non – macho hero, eventually united with Monique Clark’s zippy down to earth maid Marian (doubled with a feisty washer woman ).Gary Miller has great fun as the slow witted Oaf , as Little John and even as a very successful master bowman dwarf but predictably it is the wicked Sheriff, played with delicious intensity by the angular Dan Bain, all in black, who steals the show.
My only quibble, and one that certainly did not seem to matter for the young audience, is the unamplified singing. The songs are well chosen and tunefully rendered but to my mind the heightened scenes lost impact for a beat or two with the natural voices carrying them.
For all that, the production exudes freshness and vitality and is set to gain wide appeal.
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