Friday, 18 September 2015

"Hood-The Legend Continues" by New Perspectives
Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Purists of the image of Robin Hood may find this production a little hard to understand or take in. On the other hand, free-thinking and open minded dreamers, like myself, will relish the six separate playlets written by the seven individual writers. Each writer given a specific period in history to create a story around Hood over 150 years.

There's Hood the Outlaw who, armed with bow and arrow and his merry men, rob a train passing through St Annes, Hood the agitator as the first Labour M.P., the romantic, set during 1940's wartime. This is moved on to the 1960's and we see Hood and his gang as protesters of the motorway due to split Nottingham in two, Come forward two decades and it's all white Don Johnson suits for the moonwalking Sheriff and leather jacketed Hood. Finally it's brought bang up to date in 2015 where the tables are turned and the story starts all over again with a modern day Robin Hood taking on the old Robin Hood.

Writers Andy Barrett, Tim Elgood, James Graham, Laura Tomas, Mufaro Makubika, Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon create the very different characters and storylines which, as a whole, move Hood through the 150 years and re-imagine what Hood's role would be like in each decade of the story.

The show starts off with Alan Adale (Ed Thorpe) serenading us with his ukulele to the traditional folk mash up of "Robin Hood" and "Everything I Do, I Do It For You". Ed stitches the scenes together with his various instruments and musical offerings and adds a lot of the comedy to the play.

One face you may recognise is that of Little John, played by Ewen MacIntosh, who you may remember as Keith from "The Office", There's quite a comical fight scene right at the start involving Robin Hood and Little John which almost borders on slapstick.

Loved Adam Morris who plays the Sheriff of Nottingham. From his first role as owner of the railway, or was that just bragging to impress Marian, all the way through to the modern day, Adam was comical and almost panto-esque at times, making him an arrogant, lovable, and sometimes simple rogue was a touch of brilliance.

Will Scarlett (Alex Bedward) was fresh and feisty, sometimes switching from being Will to Wilhelmina but all the time fun and fruity to watch.

The lovely Marian was played by Jasmine Blackborrow and again portrayed throughout as a strong, independent woman who knew what she wanted and how to go about getting it. A nice twist on the Hollywood/Disney portrayal of Marian in the movies.

And so to Hood. Our hero of the piece was played by Jonah Russell in a way that would be worthy of the "Horrible Histories" style of history telling. Great fun and engaging, which would describe the whole cast and the overall history lesson.

Some wonderful costumes through the different time periods and a bright and lively soundtrack keeps the feel and atmosphere of the various time stops over the 150 years.

All in all this just great fun and shouldn't be taken too seriously, and after all, who knows what our people's champion would take on as he passed through the ages, but it's great to keep the legend alive with a fresh outlook.

"Hood-The Legend Continues" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 26 September 2015.

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