There is plenty of good fun at the Egg this Christmas with Robin Hood providing a different family treat for those who don’t fancy their Christmas treats overly schmaltzy. Greg Banks version is in no danger of doing this, if anything it’s a little on the grungy side as Robin and his band of merry men go out to liberate Nottingham from evil King John. There is a political point encased in Banks version of the tale, it begins with four modern homeless people huddled round a fire storytelling but he never nails the point to hard, he is more interested in keeping the action flowing, the jokes coming and the songs on point.
Playing in the round of the lovely Egg space, its episodic structure doesn’t allow the piece to build to a fully satisfying climax but there is plenty to love within. Banks is an expert in crafting terrific family theatre and he ensures that there is enough action to keep everyone, there are sword fights, flights of escape, archery competitions and jokes that don’t make you groan. Best of all are the all-female ska band The Maranette’s whose music is infectiously catching even if the four performers grabbing mics to help accompany reminded me most often of the unintentional satirical greatness of Goldie Looking Chain.
Its four strong cast are each given plenty to work with, Peter Edwards plays the title role with the straightest of bats as the do-gooding outlaw while Rebecca Killick, reuniting with her Pink Mist partner, has plenty of spunk and a deadly eye with a bow as Maid Marion while Nik Holden is boo-hiss personified as a leather coated Sherrif Of Nottingham who struts around the theatre as though he owns it. Best of all though is Stephen Leask who slips between the light and the dark as both a non-to devout Friar Tuck and a bathing in dirty money King John. If his comeuppance is rather bodged by a too hurried end the build-up before has been more than worthwhile.
Be aware though of where you sit, not all the views in this round are created equal and there is a tendency to play the action end on to a raft of seats at the opposite end to the entrance. If you can get in early pick those seats. A show this much fun after all deserves to be seen from the best vantage point. .