Review: Abandon all gravity ye who enter the realm of the Hipp’s ‘Robin’


The Hipp production of “Robin Hood,” features, from left, Logan Wolfe, Hannah Benitez, Cameron Francis, Ric Rose, Nichole Hamilton, Matthew Lindsay and Kenny Smoak through May 5.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 12:39 p.m.

There’s a big bathtub in Sherwood Forest. Get over it.

Facts

‘Robin Hood'

What: Greg Banks’ take on a “tale of adventure for all ages,” directed by Lauren Caldwell
When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays through May 5.
Where: Hippodrome Theatre, 25 SE Second Place
Tickets: $30-$35, $25 for senior citizens, $15 for students, children admitted free through Wednesday with minimum of three non-perishable food items, up to two free children per paying adult
Info: 375-4477, www.thehipp.org

The peasants are destitute, with nothing to sustain them save their love of karaoke and movie trivia.

The evil sheriff eschews chain-mail for a tasseled cowboy shirt and Stetson.

The king is conflicted. Sometimes he is the Divine Miss M, sometimes he’s Elmer Fudd.

The fair Maid Marian does deadpan like she’s got the patent on it.

And the dashing hero is a skilled archer who looses arrows with the speed of invisibility; a deadly swordsman who thrusts and parries with silken dexterity.

Either that or he’s shooting imaginary arrows, and his sword really is a swatch of silk.

Oh, and by the way, that faint whirling sound you hear behind the heavy disco background beat is Errol Flynn spinning in his grave.

What have they done to the legendary outlaw-hero that Flynn and legions of other actors worked so hard to immortalize?

Well, they put him in a kicky pink number with matching fuzzy hat, for one thing.

It would be an insufficient to call the Hippodrome’s new production of Greg Banks’ “Robin Hood” a genre-bender. It is more like a genre-bender, stapler, folder and mutilator.

Imagine Monte Python doing Hamlet. Only sillier. Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” was the stuff of high drama by comparison.

Abandon all gravity ye who enter the Hipp’s realm of Robin. This is a fast-paced laugh fest interrupted only by occasional lapses into Looney Tunes-like action sequences and flickering surrealism.

Ric Rose, he of the flowing locks and will-o-the-wisp manner, is our hero, the Prince of Thieves. And if there is an irony here, it is that Robin fits Rose so well that Ric could play the part convincingly in a straightforward retelling of the legend.

But, really, what would be the point?

Nichole Hamilton is Marion, a sort of Amazonian maiden-in-distress who, a head taller than her rescuer, gives the impression that she could take Robin two-throws out of three if she cared to. In a production where everybody is hard-put to keep a straight face, stoic Marion would sooner crack a skull than crack a smile.

Cameron Francis is the hardest-working actor on the set, playing no fewer than four characters, including a very campy King John and a foppish Will Scarlet. At one point this man of many hats manages three roles simultaneously.

Matthew Lindsay does a glib turn as the Sheriff of Nottingham and “Walking Dead” extra (no, seriously). Logan Wolfe, in the role of a “gaggle of evil villains,” bears an uncanny resemblance to the Martian who kept trying to zap Bugs Bunny. Hannah Benitez and Kenneth Smoak play pretty much everybody else in the forest and Nottingham, when they are not the singing and strumming at the Orange and Blue Boar Tavern.

No stage credit is given for the role of the horse’s head.

Ever faithful to the legend of Robin Hood, there is the obligatory splitting of the arrow in this side-splitting tale.

But you’ll never see it coming.

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