BWW Reviews: SCT's ROBIN HOOD Is Back to Thrill Us

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Hans Altwies and Basil Harris in
Seattle Children's Theatre's Robin Hood
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

Back in 2011 some friends told me about this amazing production of "Robin Hood" going on over at Seattle Children's Theatre and like a dolt I missed it. (Bad theater reviewer!) Well luckily for me and for all of us that amazing production, complete with the same cast, director and set, is back and fairly well blew me away as to how incredible it is for both young and old.

Everyone knows the thrilling stories of Robin Hood but what author Greg Banks has done is to take the woodland hero and pare down to just one story and just four actors. It's the high points that we know the best of Robin (Hans Altwies) robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, falling in love with Maid Marion (Hana Lass) and humiliating the Sherriff of Nottingham (Basil Harris) and Prince John (David Quicksall) at the archery tournament. But he's told the tale with humor and a sense of childlike wonder that never once talks down to the kids. All of which is bookended in a framework of modern day persecuted poor making the impact of the story all that much more relevant. And director Allison Narver has taken this daring tale and amped up the thrills with a killer cast and a deliriously climbable and swingable set from Jennifer Lupton.

And, oh that cast! This four person ensemble manages to inhabit the whole of Nottingham and Sherwood Forrest as they weave in and out of their various characters with the simple change of a hat or cloak but never lose the sense of who they're trying to portray. Altwies makes for the most daring and rugged Robin Hood who ever buckled a swash and could not be more fun in the role. Harris makes for the perfect bumbling baddie as the Sherriff and still commands his authority even through all his fumbles. Lass delivers a Maid Marion who may well be in a bad situation thanks to the Sherriff but is never a damsel in distress as she shoots and fights just as well as the boys, if not better. And Quicksall takes on the lion's share of the multiple roles (including the majority of the Merry Men) with glee and makes them all a joy to watch especially his swaggering and malevolent Prince John. And all of them together form a tight ensemble that I would say functions as a well oiled machine but look to be having too much fun to be classified as a machine. They're all really just big kids playing Robin Hood and that completely sells the story and the wonder.

This is one of those "kid's shows" that's so good it goes beyond just a "kid's show". Not only does it transport any age to the thrilling adventures of Robin Hood but also thrilled due to its magnificent stagecraft. It's a superb piece of work that has completely earned a hale and hearty YAY with my three letter rating system. If you feel the need for a cover in order to see it then go rent or borrow some kids to accompany you but get yourself to catch this brilliant work before it's gone ... again. "Long live Robin Hood!"

"Robin Hood" performs at Seattle Children's Theatre through May 17th. For tickets or information contact the Seattle Children's Theatre box office at 206-441-3322 or visit them online at www.sct.org.



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From This Author Jay Irwin