Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: ROBIN HOOD at Imagination Stage

Review: ROBIN HOOD at Imagination Stage
Christopher Dinolfo and Alina Collins Maldonado in Imagination Stage's production of Robin Hood. Photo by Margot Schulman.

The tale of Robin Hood has provided source material for several famous screen adaptations over the years, including the classic Hollywood film with Errol Flynn and the Disney animated feature that portrayed all the characters as animals. With the exception of Young Robin Hood at Round House Theatre a few years back, there really hasn't been a good stage treatment for the guy who steals from the rich to give to the poor...until now.

Imagination Stage's current production of Robin Hood features everything that a good Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) production should have - a superb cast and design team, great direction from the company's Founding Artistic Director Janet Stanford, and sword play. What more do you need?

Greg Banks' thoroughly engaging adaptation begins with bucket drummer Bob (Jon Jon Johnson) providing us with a little pre-show serenade. Then we meet several homeless types out for a buck - one guy asks you to sign his jacket and then charges you a dollar. These ragtag types transition to playing characters in the story as we go to Sherwood Forest to join Robin Hood (Christopher Dinolfo) and his band of merry men to fight off the Sheriff of Nottingham (Michael Glenn).

As we progress through the story, we learn how Robin and Maid Marian (Alina Collins Maldonado) met and how the very vein and egotistical Prince John (Mick DePinto) plot to capture Robin. As you might guess, this does not go very well for the bad guys. There's also an opportunity to learn how several of the merry men came to be. This includes Much (also played by Maldonado) whose father was killed by the sheriff, and of course, Little John (Jason B. McIntosh). Without giving too much more of the plot away, I'll say that by the end, it's a sure bet that the audience will be cheering.

Review: ROBIN HOOD at Imagination Stage
L-R: Jon Jon Johnson, Jason B.McIntosh, Christopher Dinolfo, Michael Glenn, Alina Collins Maldonado and Nick DePinto in Imagination Stage's production of Robin Hood. Photo by Margot Schulman.

Performance wise, this cast is as strong as any I've seen in a TYA show for some time.

An agile Christopher Dinolfo carries the show the beginning to end as our hero Robin Hood. He has to climb and leap all over James Fouchard's set so agility is a must. You can help but root from him all the way through the play.

Alina Collins Maldonado showcases her distinct and strong stage presence once again as Maid Marian and Much. I've seen her in four shows in the last year and a half and her performances always wow me. This one is no exception.

Nick DePinto (who also serves as musical director) wonderful, slimy performance as Prince John. The egotistical and vein take on this character is perfect and his musicianship is an added bonus.

Jason B. McIntosh is endearing and Will Scarlett, another member of Robin Hood's tribe. He is imposing when needed, especially when protecting his boss.

Jon Jon Johnson is a multi-talented performer and musician. In this case, he plays Hood's tribesman Friar Tuck, but also plays violin and (as mentioned earlier) bucket drums.

Last. but certainly not least, is Michael Glenn. He gives a mammoth Shakespearean-like take of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Even though you want to see Glenn's character get his, you can't help but marvel at Glenn's performance. It's that strong.

Production elements match the performances.

James Fouchard's intricate set includes a full-size tree for Dinolfo to make his first entrance as Robin, and a high platform that acts a tower dungeon.

Kendra Rai has solved the problem of distinguishing one character from another when a single actor plays multiple roles without gobs and gobs of costume changes. Under dressing always works in the theater, and here it is used to full advantage. Be sure to look out for Dinolfo's transformation at the final archery match.

Zachery Gilbert's lighting creates a moody Sherwood Forest.

Sound Designer Justin Schmitz adds the final touches with an atmospheric soundscape that enhances rather than intrudes. That is always the sign of a good designer.

Kelly and Mollye Maxner's fight and movement choreography are an added bonus. I've seen some productions of Robin Hood where there are no fights at all.

Director Janet Stanford's staging is sharp, well-paced, and does exactly what it should do. It tells the story straight forward without any added "improvements," which doesn't always happen in a TYA setting. Brava Ms. Stanford.

Robin Hood at Imagination Stage has it all. All hail!!!!

Running Time: 75 minutes with no intermission for school performances. 90 minutes with one intermission for public performances.

Robin Hood runs through May 20, 2018 at Imagination Stage, which is located at 4908 Auburn Ave, Bethesda, MD. For tickets, click here.



Related Stories
Review: AMERICAS SEXIEST COUPLE at Best Medicine Rep Photo
Best Medicine Rep's production of America's Sexiest Couple, directed by Kathleen Barth, explores the relationship between Susan and Craig, and how Residents impacted their lives.

Review: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Photo
A multi-talented cast in a unique, romantic setting makes for a lovely summer evening. Shakespeare's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is the progenitor of the modern rom-com. Maybe this is why it has been placed in so many different eras of civilization from its original Renaissance setting to Edwardian England to the Roaring Twenties to its present incarnation in Post-World War II France. No matter where it travels, audiences will recognize the bickering protagonists, gossipy friends, meddling family, village buffoons, and broad comedy with a touch of tragedy.

BWW Review: THE CATASTROPHIST at Round House Theatre and Marin Theatre Company Photo
The Catastrophist, co-produced by Round House Theatre and Marin Theatre Company, and directed by Jasson Minadakis, is a surreal and emotional glimpse into Dr. Wolfe’s passion of preventing catastrophe before it happens.

BWW Video: Round House Theatre Premieres New Webseries Homebound Photo
This first installment of Round House Theatre's Original Webseries Homebound is now live, with new episodes premiering every Monday through June 29. The 10-episode series is written by a different local playwright each week, and features 9 DC-area actors who would have performed on the Round House stage this spring.


From This Author - Elliot Lanes

Elliot Lanes has been working in theatre for over 20 years as a PSM, Sound Designer, Board Op....you get the idea. He has had the pleasure of working with some of DC's finest artists at venues ... (read more about this author)


News: CREATIVISTS IN DIALOGUE: A Podcast Embracing the Creative Life is Now Live on SubstackNews: CREATIVISTS IN DIALOGUE: A Podcast Embracing the Creative Life is Now Live on Substack
February 2, 2023

A new local podcast, Creativists in Dialogue: A Podcast Embracing the Creative Life, launches February 1, 2023, at Creativists.substack.com. Supported in part by a fellowship to producer Elizabeth Bruce from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, Creativists in Dialogue features thoughtful, in-depth interviews with people from all walks of life about the role creativity plays in shaping who they are. 

Interview: Theatre Life with Thomas FloydInterview: Theatre Life with Thomas Floyd
December 29, 2022

Today’s subject Thomas Floyd is someone you probably know if you are a regular reader of The Washington Post. Thomas is an arts journalist who contributes features on theater, movies, television, books and comedy for the Weekend and Style sections. He also writes theater, film, and literary criticism. That is more than enough for one person right there, but Thomas has another side to him as a writer and it’s one you might not think of.

Interview: Theatre Life with Norm LewisInterview: Theatre Life with Norm Lewis
December 22, 2022

Today's subject Norm Lewis is probably best known for his rich baritone sound and superb acting in several Broadway musicals. His tour de force performance opposite Audra McDonald in Porgy and Bess is still one of the great modern-day performances.

Review: Joshua Henry at Kennedy Center as part of Renée Fleming's VOICES SeriesReview: Joshua Henry at Kennedy Center as part of Renée Fleming's VOICES Series
December 20, 2022

Every once in awhile I go to a concert and say “Wow! He/She is very talented but is trying too hard to win over the audience”. That was my impression after watching one of the stars of the current Broadway revival of Into The Woods Joshua Henry this past Saturday night at Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.

Interview: Theatre Life with Michael UrieInterview: Theatre Life with Michael Urie
December 20, 2022

Some of you might know today's subject Michael Urie from his work on the tv series Ugly Betty but his career as a stage, film and TV actor goes far beyond that one famous TV show. He can currently be seen onstage at Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) in Jane Anger playing the role of William Shakespeare. The production runs through January 8th at STC's Klein Theatre.