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Review: Theatre

The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood

MacRobert Centre, Stirling

Mary Brennan

There are no men in tights, green or otherwise. No Lincoln Green whatsoever: the cast of two wear grey with Robin in a hoodie.

So what gives this Visible Fictions co-commission with Washington's Kennedy Center such a vivid sense of closeness to the original legend?

It's the paring away - by writer Oliver Emanuel and director/co-designer Douglas Irvine - of the cod-medieval trappings so beloved of Hollywood and television.

Instead the adventures romp along on a rubbish-tip set cunningly crafted out of cardboard boxes, with a supermarket trolley for quick getaways and a couple of mates - Billy Mack and Martin McCormick - larking about. Shooting make-believe arrows - a brilliant illusion using torch beams - and role-playing in a modern day wish-projection about society's under-dog poor being given hope (and the upper hand over their taxing masters).

No way is this strand reduced to political tub-thumping for the young. But there are issues for audiences (aged 7 +) to mull over, once they've stopped chortling and cheering at the madcap fun on-stage.

Is McCormick's Robin really as altruistic as myths make out? Or is he vain - hating to have his hair mussed up, or to be outclassed as an archer?

Mack's wolfish Sheriff maybe hits home when he accuses Robin of arrogance, something his best friend Little John (also Mack) would never do - though actually John's the one who starts handouts to the poor, because he's been poor himself.

As the hijacked crisp packets fly, the boxes tumble and the lads in grey boogie on down, with slick dance-y stuff that delights all ages, we do get our hero: it's called story-telling, and this show does it proud.

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