Alex: ‘Heart of Robin Hood’ a merry romp

Scene from The Heart of Robin Hood (Mirvish productions)

The Heart of Robin Hood is on stage now in Toronto. Alex Reynolds discovers what’s really going on in Sherwood Forest.

Instead of ancient madrigals, bluegrass rhythms ring through Sherwood Forest in this cockeyed contemporary retelling of Robin Hood’s misadventures. Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company, perhaps inspired by Mel Brooks’ mad movie comedy Men in Tights, has re-imagined the myth, stirring copious quantities of musical action with slapstick humour.

The forest bandit gets greedy with the loot lifted from the aristocracy, sharing the spoils with his band of ne’er-do-wells, ignoring the needs of the peasants. However, there’s a moral turning point as Maid Marion presses feminine logic to reform the self-centered, callous Robin, restoring order and serenity to the medieval woodlands.

The ending is of course predicable, but getting there provides the fun. The jug band wanders through the scenes as characters descend by ropes, slide down the curved sets while enagaging in cartoon violence.

From the start, The Heart of Robin Hood is a giddy romp in Sherwood Forest. He’s an ancient hero for our time.

Robin Hood and his merry pranksters are roaring through Sherwood Forest on stage at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre. The adventures continue through March 1st.