The Heart of Robin Hood took a different twist on the traditional story, but this approach isn’t new and so having a strong Marian and wayward Robin was not a surprise. There were some good things. For example, I really liked the way the actors presented animals using musical instruments. The problem I had with the production overall was that I just felt that because they could, they did. It felt that because actors could slide down from the back of the stage, enter from any part of the audience, drop down traps, or descend down from the flies, then in this production they did it. It felt like everything was piled on and the spectacle was a little over done. I found that very early on in the evening, the novelty of it all just wore off and actually a production that played on surprise ended up revealing all its surprises at the beginning, and there was little left for the finale.
Marion was very much a modern girl, introduced to us in her night-clothes and Robin Hood a bit of a selfish thug to start with. Heart of Robin Hood was a Christmas show and it was a pantomime. It was energetic and funny, and it was also gruesome at times.
Martin Hutson’s Prince John was the highlight for me. He didn’t have the conventional villain looks, but he managed to portray such badness, it was chilling at times.
It was nice to catch the last night of the Christmas lights on a mild January night in Stratford, and enjoy a night at the theatre, but I am looking forward to seeing some more Shakespeare again.