Review: Robin Hood & Marion at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme

Adaptor and Director: Theresa Heskins

Composer and Musical Director: James Atherton

Every family Christmas production needs some adventure in it and this new interpretation of Robin Hood at the New Vic is filled with just that. Not five minutes goes by without a slick and well-directed fight happening right in front of the audience’s eyes. These fight scenes add to the immense story telling that this epic production of a historic character contains.

The auditorium completely transforms into the world of Robin Hood right in front of the audience’s eyes thanks to Laura Clarkson’s Set Design. One second the action takes place in Robin and Marian’s wedding tent and in the next the depths of Sherwood Forest. The set adds an extra layer to this production as it enhances the cast’s ability to explore and play with their surroundings:  from clambering down from a balcony to swinging on some rope from one side to stage to the next. The audience watch in ore as Robin, Marian and his Merry Men cover every area possible of this Theatre in the Round.

The story itself follows the legend of Robin Hood as we know it but with one exception. This particular production puts Marion, played by Crystal Condie at the heart of the story. The character of Marion enhances the key themes throughout of challenging the role and ability of women in society. Condie creates a strong willed baron’s daughter who is keen to explore the great British outdoors and is certainly no damsel in distress which is often how the character is portrayed in many retellings of this legendary story. Robin Hood, played by Isaac Stanmore portrays an adventurous, lovable, rebellious yet also almost immature and cocky character who certainly likes to show off. As the plot progresses though we soon see deeper into how Robin feels about other people assisting him in robbing from the rich to give to the poor and the risks associated by his own life choices.

It can’t go unnoticed the very prominent role of a Kestrel played by Sophia Hatfield. Hatfield mans the puppet Kestrel with ease and accuracy. The bird seems to represent an animal form of Marion but it is not always clear why the puppet is used throughout until the gripping battle at what could be Robin Hood’s demise. It is also one example of clever puppetry that this production contains.

The whole cast of this production work immensely hard throughout to keep the audience gripped and to keep the story flowing. Their abilities to provide strong characters, clever scenic elements, gripping fight schemes and also the whole musical soundtrack shows an excellent example of an ensemble piece of magical theatre which is truly entertaining no matter the age of the audience member. This production is a fun filled magical whirlwind adventure that you certainly wouldn’t want to miss.

Runs until 30th January 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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