- Written by Paul Dodgson
- Directed by Heidi Vaughan
- Designed by Carl Davies
- Lighting by George Seal
- Musical Direction by Rob Hiley
- Prior Park, 27-31 August 2014
Robin Hood, a classic story that speaks to our time: an outlaw with a mission to restore justice and equality. Deep in the Forest of Sherwood, a band of lionhearted bandits are gathering ready to do battle to right the wrongs of a selfish society.
As the 18th century Ball Court at Prior Park College is transformed into the Sheriff of Nottinghams castle, you are invited to join the outlawd and the upper crust for a spectacular production…
Robin Hood is a tale which has been reincarnated for each generation; from the technicolour of Errol Flyn to the Defender of the Crown video game, from the Tom and Jerry 1950’s cartoon to the famous Robin Hood Prince of Thieves movie. Despite hugely different styles and productions this legendary figure has remained as part of our cultural heritage since the 13th Century. His famous fight against dictatorship and charitable heart makes him a figure head we can all place a value on. A man that each generation has found their own connection which and, depending on their own struggles and challenges, their own hero as well.
In making this piece I felt this was incredibly important. I cringed at the thought of a medieval parody and instead felt driven to dig down to the roots of the story and make it a piece for now. A piece which would connect with our young company who, both directly and indirectly see hardships and dictatorships online, on televisions as well as closer to home. I wanted to make a piece which would make sense, in real terms, of desperate times requiring the bravest people.
Storm on the Lawn, now in its 17th year, and it is my 3rd. I adore this yearly event which seems to have a heartbeat all of its own. It has a spirit and sense of story which connects thoroughly with the legend of Robin Hood that, despite all the odds that are put upon us, the rain, the sun, the lack of time; the bravery and energy of these young people never fails to amaze, inspire and make good. It has been reshaped and owned each year, each generation finding their voice and creativity. It in itself is its own legend and is held closely in the hearts of so many, especially myself.
So now it is time to throw down the gauntlet and open this tournament for you to enjoy. You, the audience, are essential to complete this year’s legend to make this real for all the participants. So enjoy the bravery and we hope you join in our celebration of this years reincarnation.
ALAN KING, Bristol Evening Post
Robin Hood. Prior Park, Bath – 4 [four] stars
A gang of energetic boys in green tights, a wicked Sheriff of Nottingham, dressed in black, whom we can boo and hiss, a soppy love song between an embarrassed hero and Maid Saccharin and a jolly finale when everyone kisses and makes up to the strains of “Happy Days Are Here Again”! – the 17th year of the Storm on the Lawn series – shattered all those preconceived stereotypes.
From the moment you enter the outdoor stone-enclosed Ball Park to be confronted by severed heads staring down, you sense that this is not going to be a cosy production. Within moments an ageing mother is beaten up and has two fingers amputated. Next comes a public hanging and an assault on the defenceless crowd by police toting sub machine guns.
Author Paul Dodgson and director Heidi Vaughan spare us nothing when it comes to violent realism and the 60 strong cast responded like vibrant, headstrong story tellers let loose to make mischief in the forest.
As always, the strength of these production is in the ensemble work with a mass of energetic bodies filling the stage waging war with cricket bats and tennis rackets and generally having fun.
Daniel Hayman’s Robin is no swashbuckling, thigh slapping matinee idol but one who comes across convincingly as a deep thinker full of doubts and far from sure of himself. And his men are not always merry: “I’d rather lay and watch clouds than fight” muses one.
Emily Malloy looks like Liza Minnelli and has the stage presence to match as the Sheriff whilst Emma Scott and Martha Bennett impress as Much the Miller and her daughter.
THEATRE BATH: theatrebath.co.uk
FINE TIMES RECORDER: theftr.co.uk