As a huge fan of Carl Grose, known for writing Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) and The Grinning Man, this reimagined take on a classic story – Robin Hood: The Legend. Rewritten, unfortunately completely misses the bullseye.

Credit: Pamela Raith

This remake pulls on political strings regarding the ecosystem, royalty, and capitalism; set in a desperate, divided kingdom where only the truly cunning can outwit the sheriff’s reign. This production also tries to incorporate characters from other adaptations, and whilst the audiences’ reactions seemed appreciative of this, I feel this is somewhat disjointed and added a slight pantomime element to the show.

Right away as the show opens, the full company floods the stage and begins playing out various roles simultaneously which feels overwhelming, as you do not know where to focus attention. This is a reoccurrence throughout the production with far too much occurring at one given moment. With so many characters it is easy for some to get lost along the way, one of which is the Villain, Gisburne (played by Ira Mandela Siobhan), who we are introduced to and who subsequently disappears until Act 2 – where the character becomes utterly bizarre through questionable direction. There is no doubt that the entire cast and creative team are talented, however, all the creative choices lack cohesion, which makes for a messy outcome.

Standing out in particular is Alex Mugnaioni as Baldwyn, overall I felt it was more his story than anyone else’s. Displaying emotional range, comedic timing, and an undeniable presence, he manages to make this character his own. He keeps the tempo of the show going and never drops a moment for humour, or for being a sadistic madman without being over the top. Paul Hunter who plays the King is also worth mentioning, with charm in his delivery which is heartwarming, and evokes a sense of sympathy towards him.

Credit: Pamela Raith

An enjoyable element is the arrows which magically seem to appear, even after numerous repeats I felt like a child in awe at how this is executed. The focus on this part felt juxtaposed to the rest of the production and I would have loved for more centring and less complex delivery; less is more sometimes. I also feel confused by the age demographic this show is aimed towards, as I feel children wouldn’t understand it as I’m sure some adults, myself included, didn’t even understand what was happening at many points throughout. With very random silly moments in some parts, but also overly gory visuals in others, the tone feels incoherent.

The idea of a Robin Hood retelling set outdoors, in a venue surrounded by trees at the stunning Regents Park Open Air Theatre is hugely appealing, allowing the audience to be immersed in the location. However, this alone cannot make a show successful and this production unfortunately fell short in every other area. Subsequently, this is a remake which misses the mark and begs me to wonder – why try to recreate something that is fine just as it was?

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Robin Hood The Legend. Rewritten is on at Regents Park until 22nd July – info here!

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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