The cast of The Glorious Adventures of the Mighty Robin Hood.
The Glorious Adventures of the Mighty Robin Hood
By Gregory and Abigail Maupin
Directed by Andrew D. Harris
Review by Rachel White
Entire Contents Copyright 2014 by Rachel White. All rights Reserved.
With the Glorious Adventures of the Mighty Robin Hood, Gregory and Abigail Maupin, of Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble, take a surprisingly fresh spin on a classic story. The script is fast paced and clever, with a poignant reversal at the end.
The play, written (in verse no less), pieces together the legendary tale of the mighty Robin Hood, the famed bandit who steals from the rich but gives to the poor. The writers use the play-within-a-play technique, framing the Robin Hood tales with a story about a band of traveling players who are rehearsing a play about Robin Hood. Their performance is frequently interrupted, as in a real rehearsal, with line drops, director notes and various other theater crises, yet they manage to push through, each player taking on multiple roles.
The Robin Hood tale itself opens with a Narrator (Ben Evans) strumming a lute in classic medieval style. “It happened thus wise,” says one of the players. Another corrects him, “No, it happened thus wise.” And so they make the point that there are many versions of the story. This is a smart way to begin because it frees the writers of responsibility to one version, and also sets up the legendary feel of the tale itself.
What is really great about the piece is its use of language. The use of verse infuses the tale with a fresh energy, and works to separate the player story from the Robin Hood story. It is well written enough to keep the play light without making it sound trite or silly, and yet it is accessible enough that kids can understand it.
The physicality, reminiscent of Le Petomane, is fantastic, and allows the players to ease chameleon-like from role to role. Leah Roberts evolves seamlessly from the neck less Friar Tuck, to earnest and vulnerable Apprentice of the player scenes. Ben Evans as the Narrator slides unrecognizably into the character of Prince John with a twist of his face. At the center of this is, of course, Robin Hood himself, played with strength and humor by Jon Huffman.
Although the play is complex enough to appeal to adults, it’s really for kids, and they seemed to laugh the most at the physical gags, such as when Prince John drops a slobbery kiss on Maid Marian’s (Shayla Spradley’s) hand.
For all its lightheartedness, the play has a heart and is a reminder that a story is a living thing, evolving with the artists who tell it, and transporting both storyteller and listener.
The Glorious Adventures of the Might Robin Hood
Friday, February 21, 7:30 PM
Stage One Family Theatre
Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
For tickets, contact The Kentucky Center Box Office at 502-584-7777 or visit kentuckycenter.org