Seattle Children's Theatre puts its own fresh spin on the familiar tale of Robin Hood, drawing today's children into the 800-year-old tale of heroism and justice.
"This looks fun!" my 8-year-old daughter exclaimed as she looked at the set. The seemingly simple stage is filled with surprises as the scenery takes you from the forest floor to the treetops of Robin Hood's outlaw hideout in Sherwood Forest and into the beleaguered town of Nottingham.
The intimate Eve Alvord Theatre is perfect for this production which involves the audience in the action, inviting theater-goers literally to rise to their feet and shout in support of the absent, but just, King Richard, and boo the greed and cruelty of Prince John.
As Artistic Director Linda Hartzell puts it in the program notes for the production, the cast is intentionally small with four actors playing the various parts. This is where the age recommendation of 8 and up comes into play. My daughter loved the production, but found it difficult to keep the various characters straight as actors switched between roles.
The confusion is further compounded by the fact that the character of Robin Hood also shows up in various disguises. My daughter didn't let that dampen her enjoyment or overall understanding of the show. On our way home she told me, "I think Robin Hood is about how important it is to be generous."
The show is action packed. We both loved the very realistic sword play. It's also quite funny with Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham playing up their parts as the comically dimwitted villains. The show brings humor to the romance between Robin and Marian as well, which is a wise choice considering the exclamations of "Eeeew" that emitted from young audience members when the two kiss on stage.
While there is plenty to cheer about, the story is left open-ended, inviting the audience to contemplate the concepts of bravery and equality not only in Medieval England, but also in the world we live in today.
IF YOU GO
Where: Eve Alvord Theatre, 201 Thomas St. in Seattle, located at the west entrance of Seattle Center, just north of Pacific Science Center and west of the Space Needle.
When: Through Nov. 27; Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 p.m., and various matinee performance times. ASL-Interpreted Performance Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.
Admission: Thursday $20; Friday $25; Saturday and Sunday children $29 and adults $36. The Seattle Children’s Theatre recommends this production for children ages 8 and up.
Contact: 206-441-3322; www.sct.org.
Laura Spruce Wight is a Seattle-area freelance writer and mother of two.