The Heart of Robin Hood opened last night at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, in a re-imagined working of the heroic outlaw tale written by playwright David Farr and directed by Iceland’s Gisli Orn Gardarsson. Connecticut Americana band, Parsonsfield, provided the soundtrack to the show and much more, as band members took their own musical roles on stage alongside the actors.
Show attendees were greeted by Parsonsfield’s folk sound as they took their seats in the flourishing crimson theatre. The band twanged away on the moss-covered Sherwood Forest in a nook by stage right, where they spent equally as much time as they did centre stage. They strummed and hummed like hobbits relaxing after second breakfast; before setting off in an explosive bluegrass number, marking the start of the show.
Leading lady Marion’s character (Izzie Steele) was reminiscent of an English Mulan. She creates an alter ego, Martin, in an attempt to fight in a male-dominated arena. She holds her own amongst Robin Hood (Gabriel Ebert) and his Merry Men by demonstrating strength and courage. Through all this, Marion’s brave facade is seemingly unshakeable – until her feelings for our ol’ boy Hood emerge.
Christian Lloyd plays a flamboyant and charming Pierre, part sidekick to Marion and part jester. He was certainly the stand-out of the show in terms of humour – the show was admittedly a little corny at times, but Lloyd delivered his lines with perfect comedic timing without overdoing it.
On a cold night, The Heart of Robin Hood served as comedic relief to the joke of a winter we’ve had in Toronto this year. The love story and the friendship development will warm your heart and the thought of sliding down the mossy slide on stage will remind you of sunshine and green grass – banishing the winter blues at least for the duration of the play.
The Heart of Robin Hood runs at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until March 1. Get your tickets now at mirvish.com!