Tumbling, floating and swinging through trees with Robin Hood at Seattle Children's Theatre
Photo: Seattle Children's Theatre
Robin Hood, the beloved childhood story, comes to life on the main stage at Seattle Children’s Theatre. From the lovely Maid Marian to the jovial Friar Tuck, you’ll find all your favorites are in place. But don’t get too comfortable, SCT tells this classic story in its own way. With equal parts adventure and humor, the show is sure to keep the attention of the entire family.
The physicality of the show is just spectacular. Geoffrey Alm, the fight choreographer makes great use of an amazing set. From sword fights to grand staff duels, to plain old wrestling, this show has it all. Even when they are not engaged in fights, the actors are tumbling, popping through escape doors, swinging from and climbing in trees, and in one case, floating along in the river. If you are sitting close enough, you can see the sweat on their faces. Be ready for your little ones to try some of these fancy moves when they get home because they sure make it look like fun.
At least three times during the show and a half dozen times afterwards, my daughter told me, “I love shows with audience interaction.” In this version of Robin Hood, the audience is not just along for the ride, but actively woven into the show. Be ready, the actors will ask you to cheer, “long live Robin Hood,” come climbing through the audience, and if you’re lucky, you might even receive a shiny coin from the band of Merry Men as they give money back to the poor. When Robin Hood escapes, the Sheriff of Nottingham gives a knee-buckling glare to the audience for their lack of help. A couple of lucky kids even get to do a sack race with the sheriff at the Nottingham Games.
Robin Hood may be the hero, but the Sheriff of Nottingham is the heart of this show. His antics and bigger than life personality make him a crowd-pleasing villain that you love to hate. The Sheriff, played by Basil Harris is also a master of accents. At one point in the show, the Sheriff in disguise goes through a half dozen different accents in one speech. He received not one, but two rounds of applause. His scowl includes a single-raised eyebrow that can be seen from the back row, and he has dance moves that can bring down the house.
I was so glad to see that Maid Marian was not just a pretty face in this production. She not only swings through the trees with Robin Hood, but she also gets to participate in the archery competition at the Nottingham Games. As my daughter says, “I think everyone is finally realizing that girls can do archery too.” Yes! And kudos to costume designer Catherine Hunt for giving her a long open coat over pants to mimic a dress, but still allow her to move through the sets with ease.
Speaking of the sets, designer Jennifer Lupton has put together a masterpiece. My daughter said, “they should charge money and let you play on it. I really want to try to vine swing.” Yep, me too, kiddo, me too.
The actors in the show are pulling double, and triple duty. If your child has trouble following the story, it might be a good idea to let them know that some actors are playing more than one character, and to look for specific costume pieces to help identify who they are. SCT always does a good job of providing a detailed story synopsis in the program, so make sure you have time to read it. It can be especially confusing to see that one actress, Hana Lass, plays both the female character of Maid Marian, and the male characters of Much and Much’s father, also named Much. Alas, if they do get confused, they won’t be alone for even Robin Hood did not recognize Maid Marian in disguise, and that gives everyone a good laugh.
I always expect a good show at SCT. In over a decade, I have never been disappointed. Even with my high expectations, they still find ways to surprise and delight me and my family. Robin Hood was exactly that, a wonderful surprise and delight. I had not expected such a funny show. I kept thinking that I hope their marketing team spreads the word a little wider this time. I would certainly come see this show even without kids. It has been a while since we have done this, but Robin Hood may just be the kind of show we have to see twice.
IF YOU GO
Where: Seattle Children’s Theatre, 201 Thomas Street, Seattle 980109
When: Thursdays & Fridays at 7 pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 5:30 pm, and Sundays at 11 am and 2:30 pm, now through May 17.
Cost: General Admission, Adults $20-$36 and Children $20-$29
Contact: sct.org, 206-441-3322, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Rogers Flynt is a freelance writer based out of Lake Forest Park and the mother of two who enjoy tree climbing and swinging in the forests around home.