ChildrensFamilyFestive 15/16LondonReview

The Ballad Of Robin Hood – Southwark Playhouse, London

Writer: Greg Freeman
Director &Composer: Annabelle Brown
Reviewer: Tom Finch

Tacit Theatre’s latest production based on the stories of Robin Hood has just opened at the Southwark Playhouse which has been cleverly transformed into The Tabard Inn, the same Inn from which Chaucer’s pilgrims set off for Canterbury. This is a neat idea which allows the ensemble cast freedom to tell a few Robin Hood stories.

The premise is a simple one. Robin Hood has been brought to the Inn by a sheriff who having caught the young renegade plans to turn him into the authorities. The patrons of the Inn then recount the stories they have heard about him in order to decide whether or not they should help the sheriff.

The ensemble cast of seven all give spirited, high energy performances; they race through the script in about 70minutes. Owen Findlay is as dashing and charming as you’d expect Robin Hood to be. Rosalind Blessed relishes her rôle as gossipy innkeeper, Mary Bailey (a nice nod to Chaucer there) and Dora Rubenstein brings energy and urgency to he rôle as a Flemish serving girl with a secret.

Greg Freeman’s script is largely very engaging with a few neat gags in there. Some of the modern references such as a brief mention of the plight of refugees seem a little out of place, but overall he hits the right notes.

Annabelle Brown’s immersive production has some lovely touches which, at a performance in which the audience were made up predominantly of school groups, comes up absolute trumps. The kids are laughing and squealing with joy throughout while remaining totally rapt in the production. It’s a credit to the actors that they are able to keep their cool over the excited din from the audience.

Runs until 26th December 2015 | Image: Richard Worts

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