‘Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood’ was light-hearted.
Written by Ken Ludwig, ‘Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood’ brings to life the story of a ragtag group of outlaws who fight the corruption of their king in the name of the poor. Set in the medieval period of 6th-14th century Nottingham, England, the play has received the Critic’s Choice title from The San Diego Union-Tribune in 2017. Following the titular character Robin Hood as he goes from young child of noble birth to the most wanted man in all of Nottingham, along with his band of merry men, the show that will leave you in fits of giggles has now made its way to Javeenbah Theatre in Nerang, Gold Coast.
Directed by Nathan French, ‘Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood’, is performed by a cast of eight individuals, who at times are required to play multiple roles. While the passion was most certainly present, it was at times confusing, trying to seperate the different characters, such as in one scene when Robin Hood is flirting with a woman who, in the next scene, is a totally different character whom he does not know. While this can take a moment to realise, the cast pursued and did eventually make it obvious when actors were playing different characters.
Before the play began, the announcement to put away devices came from the Sheriff of Nottingham himself, who referred to the audience as “peasants”, which brought a smile to many audience members, and set the tone for a light-hearted performance. Furthermore, the audience participation was quite entertaining, especially when the actors made everyone stand and clap for the king and when Sir Guy of Gisbourne and Robin Hood ran into the audience during a sword fight.
The set artists, constructors and designers should be commended for the work they did to create Sherwood and the palace. The backdrops were beautifully created, and it genuinely felt as if the audience had been transported to the forest or castle. The trees were beautiful, and the construction of the doors that opened and closed for seamless quick-changes between forest and castle were incredibly clever.
While the use of onstage weaponry was interesting to watch, there were times when the play-fighting did not hit its marks. Understandably, one cannot harm another actor with a stick. However, there were moments when a sword or bow staff was quite a distance from the character while the character would react as if they had been hit. It was overly forced and took away from the belief that the characters were actually fighting each other. That being said, whenever an arrow did hit another character, it was effective and looked as if they truly had been shot.
The lighting design was a joy to watch, very well done and kept pace with the show. Colin Crow, who was in charge of the show’s lighting and sound, should be commended for this attention and dedication. There was not a moment detected where lighting or sound slipped up, and everything could be heard and seen clearly. As for the costumes, they were also well done. They looked genuinely authentic for the time period, fitting well within the context of the story, expertly highlighting the difference between wealth and poverty. It truly helped to immerse the audience deeper into the world of Nottingham.
While at times the show missed some of its marks, overall it was a lighthearted performance. Despite being a small cast in a show that had more characters than they could sub actors for, the attempt was well done and enjoyed by all.
‘Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood’ performs until October 7th, 2023 at Javeenbah Theatre. For more information, visit their website.