I must admit that the Octagon’s choice of “Robin Hood” for its Christmas production left me somewhat bemused. But its departure from the conventional has turned out to be a resounding success.
So much so that I would say this is the theatre’s best festive offering of recent times – and that is saying something! Three youngsters travel back in time for an adventure that involves swordplay, magic spells and the famous bow and arrow. And it all plays along to a multitude of masterful melodies and against the backdrop of convincing scenery.
A brilliant all-round production is capped by a masterclass of a performance by Christopher Villiers, who, as the Sheriff of Nottingham, plays it for all it is worth. Villiers is a villain verging on the ridiculous and he must have loved every minute of it. But while he commanded with his presence, the rest of the cast were confident enough not to be completely overshadowed by him.
I cannot single anyone out so credit must go to them all – Marc Small as Robin Hood, Clara Darcy (Nell/Mum), Jamie Baughan (Little John/Dad), Barbara Hockaday (Willow Scarlett) and Krupa Pattani (Maid Marian). All of them can take a bow – that is bow as in bow-wow as opposed to bow as in bow and arrow!
“Robin Hood” runs until January 11th. The box office is on 01204-520661.