Reviewed by Donald Madgwick for The Croydon Advertiser.
The gardens of The Woodman pub at Woodmansterne might have been expressly designed for open air theatre in general and Robin Hood in particular.
Here, this week, we may quaff our beer and observe the magical forest clearing in which the Merry Men conduct their operations while, on a constructed set at the side, the Sheriff of Nottingham fiendishly plots their downfall.
Theatre Workshop Coulsdon’s gamble on the weather has been well justified in this, their first ever open air production. The guiding spirit is director and leading actor Richard Lloyd, who has also slangily adapted an American script for the purpose
This text treats the legend with a pinch of salt, Neil Grew’s Robin Hood is a jokey wisecracker, a swashbuckling swordsman whose archery we have to take on trust; which Richard Lloyd’s wicked Sheriff makes Basil Fawlty seem sweetly reasonable by comparison.
‘Be careful, I’m very holy’ squeaks Paul M Ford, as the cowardly Bishop of Hereford, to his captors. Sometimes the exciting deeds of derring-do sit uneasily with such Monty Pythonish humour, but on the whole the disparate elements blend in a kind of crazy harmony. Richard Lloyd’s is the dominant personality, but he has a strong cast in support.
Tatiana Allison is a rollickingly butch Marian, splendidly puncturing the macho ethos that reigns in Sherwood Forest. On the royal side, with Mark Taylor’s blustering King John, it is no contest for Rebecca Ford’s imperious Queen Mother.
Special mentions to Nathan Moughtin, a sweet-voiced Alan a’Dale, and Lesley Argles as his plucky lady love; to Mike Brown’s bear of a Little John and Tim Young’s gluttinous Friar Tuck; and especially to young Martin Reay, the chirpy miller’s son.
Paul M Ford
Technical Crew Details: