Review: SHERWOOD: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD at Village Theatre

An iconic character in an awkward, meandering play.

By: Sep. 22, 2023
Review: SHERWOOD: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD at Village Theatre
Review: SHERWOOD: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD at Village Theatre
Alegra Batara and Ricky Spaulding in 
Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood
at Village Theatre.
Photo credit: Elise Bakketun
Courtesy of Village Theatre.

Author Ken Ludwig has certainly had a prolific career filled with some wonderful gems, “Crazy for You”, “Lend Me a Tenor”, and “Moon Over Buffalo” to name just a few.  So, Village Theatre’s new production of his 2017 work, “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” sounds like a rollicking good time.  Unfortunately, this new retelling of a classic adventure meanders about awkwardly not knowing what it wants to be.  And that’s just one of the two big problems of a production that just laid there hoping the audience would find something funny in it.

It's the same old story we all know.  Nobleman, Robin of Locksley (Ricky Spaulding) is fed up with the evil Prince John (Nathaniel Tenenbaum) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Mark Emerson) taxing the poor to death, so he and his band of Merry Men rob from the rich to give to the poor.  It’s a tale known all too well.  So, if you want to tell it again, you need a fresh take on it.  Sadly, there is not one here. 

Ludwig’s script hits the high points and then tries to jazz things up.  They take the damsel in distress, Maid Marian (Alegra Batara) and turn her into not a victim but a bad ass warrior Princess (the only good change in the show).  But then they tried to inject humor throughout.  Or partially throughout.  Sometimes.  But not always.  And the humor was not great.  It was like a series of awkward Dad jokes that garnered courtesy laughs at best.  But the worst part of it wasn’t the unfunny nature of it all, but that the show never figured out what it wanted to be.  Is it a farcical romp in the vein of Robin Hood, or a swashbuckling adventure?  And if it could have chosen one of those maybe they could have made it good, instead both paths led to moments falling flat like a lead balloon and me checking my watch every five minutes to see how much closer we were to freedom. 

But not all of this is on the shoulders of Ludwig, director Adam Immerwahr too couldn’t stick to a tone.  At the top we get a goofy narration from Brandon O’Neill as Friar Tuck and a great gag of someone being shot with an arrow, collapsing comically, and then taking out the arrow only to have blood spurt up so he put the arrow back.  A fun bit, and one of the last we would get.  Immerwahr occasionally threw in another anachronistic gag or somewhat silly moment but never seemed to fully commit to the tone.  Do you want the audience to cheer and respond? Then get us going early.  Do you want a satirical romp?  Then commit to that.  Do you want a swashbuckling adventure?  Then give us better stage fights.  Aside from that first gag with the arrow, any other gags or fights or love stories felt half baked, and the funniest moment of the show came from an ad lib as Prince John stole a marshmallow from a campfire.  But even that was a “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of thing.

Review: SHERWOOD: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD at Village Theatre
Billy Finn, Mark Emerson, and
Nathaniel Tenenbaum in 
Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood
at Village Theatre.
Photo credit: Elise Bakketun
Courtesy of Village Theatre.

The cast does what they can but are hampered by a less than stellar script.  The dashing Spaulding and lovely Batara make for a decent pair of lovers but aren’t given much to work with.  Similarly, the villain, Sir Guy played by Billy Finn, swaggers about stage with lame dialog and even has a moment where he encounters the elusive Robin Hood but then just walks away.  The Merry Men, O’Neill as Friar Tuck, Quinlan Corbett as Little John, and Arika Matoba as Deorwynn feel like an afterthought.  The ones that make the most of the show would be Emerson and Tenenbaum as they are the best at trying to make this unfunny show funny, but even they look as if they’re trying too hard at this unsurmountable task.

The show has its moments, but they are way too few and far between.  With missed opportunities and jokes that were stale when Robin Hood was a boy, this rollicking romp just ends up being an exercise in awkward as jokes, bits and gags are met with crickets and sword fights feel like they’re happening at half speed.  And don’t even get me started with the inexplicable dance routine at the end of the show.  I expect better from Ken Ludwig and Village.  And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Village Theatre’s production of “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” a saddened NAH.  The only thing this Robin Hood stole was my evening.

“Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood” performs at Village Theatre in Issaquah through October 15th before moving to their Everett location running October 21st through November 12th.  For tickets or information visit them online at www.villagetheatre.org.


BroadwayWorld Awards Voting

RELATED STORIES - Seattle

1
Musical Classic ANNIE To Play Keller Auditorium, May 14 – 19, 2024 Photo
Musical Classic ANNIE To Play Keller Auditorium, May 14 – 19, 2024

​​​​​​​Leapin' Lizards!  Broadway in Portland announced today that an all-new tour of the iconic Tony Award-winning musical ANNIE will play Keller Auditorium from May 14 – 19, 2024.

2
Gaisma Theater Group to Present Company Launch Party And New Works Concert Photo
Gaisma Theater Group to Present Company Launch Party And New Works Concert

Gaisma Theater Group announces company launch party and new works concert at Fremont Abbey Arts Center on December 4th.

3
Latest Standings Announced For The 2023 BroadwayWorld Seattle Awards; AGATHA CHRISTIE&rsqu Photo
Latest Standings Announced For The 2023 BroadwayWorld Seattle Awards; AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Leads Best Play!

Happy Holidays! The latest wave of standings have been announced as of Monday, November 27th for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Seattle Awards! Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!

4
Latest Standings Announced For The 2023 BroadwayWorld Seattle Awards; HELLO, DOLLY! Leads  Photo
Latest Standings Announced For The 2023 BroadwayWorld Seattle Awards; HELLO, DOLLY! Leads Best Musical!

The latest wave of standings have been announced as of Monday, November 20th for the 2023 BroadwayWorld Seattle Awards! Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!

From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting wo... Jay Irwin">(read more about this author)

Videos


Company in Seattle Company
Paramount Theatre (7/23-7/28)
My Fair Lady (Non-Equity) in Seattle My Fair Lady (Non-Equity)
Capitol Theatre (4/10-4/11)
To Kill a Mockingbird in Seattle To Kill a Mockingbird
First Interstate Center for the Arts(Formally INB Performing Arts Center) (12/05-12/10)
Girl From the North Country in Seattle Girl From the North Country
Paramount Theatre (6/25-6/30)
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA in Seattle FROM THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA
Tacoma Little Theatre (6/07-6/23)
A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 in Seattle A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2
Tacoma Little Theatre (1/26-2/11)
The Book of Mormon (Non-Equity) in Seattle The Book of Mormon (Non-Equity)
Paramount Theatre (1/09-1/14)
The Cher Show (Non-Equity) in Seattle The Cher Show (Non-Equity)
First Interstate Center for the Arts(Formally INB Performing Arts Center) (5/18-5/19)
MJ in Seattle MJ
Paramount Theatre (12/07-12/17)
Fellow Passengers in Seattle Fellow Passengers
12th Avenue Arts (12/01-12/23)
VIEW ALL SHOWS  ADD A SHOW  

Recommended For You