By Kevin Jacobson
The Franciscan Center’s production of the musical “Robin Hood” combines a classic story with talented singing to create an evening of fun.
Set in a small English province called Nottingham, “Robin Hood” tells the tale of a group of thieves living in Sherwood Forest and their struggle against the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.
Robin Hood is an excellent marksman, but a common thief. He convinces the townsfolk of Nottingham that he needs their help to raise the ransom required to free the King of England from bondage. To do this, his new band of bandits robs from the rich who travel through the forest.
However, Robin Hood has no intention of freeing the king. His real goal is to keep the loot for himself and his partner John Little.
Their plans are foiled, however, with the arrival of Maid Marian, who is placed under the captive protection of the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Robin falls in love with Marian, and she falls in love with his dedication to free the king. Robin is faced with the decision of keeping the spoils of his plundering, or freeing the king to win the love of Marian.
During this time, the sheriff is imprisoning the villagers and raising taxes throughout the land. The power-hungry Prince John is trying to get himself crowned king in the rightful king’s absence.
In all of this commotion, the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest have stolen enough money for the ransom and the story reaches a turning point with an archery contest the Sheriff uses as a trap for Robin Hood
The story of “Robin Hood” is brought to life by the ample talent of its cast.
Eric Blood plays the character Robin Hood with a wile that is indicative to the character, and Jonny Robinson dominates the stage as the commanding Little John.
Leonard Wilkerson nearly steals the show as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham. Wilkerson’s performance is excellent as he storms about the stage and makes it easy for the audience to abhor his malicious character.
Brittany Hatch shines as the charming Maid Marian, and Kimball Hanson plays the bumbling Constable convincingly.
The singing is the strongest part of “Robin Hood,” and songs like “The Naughty Sheriff of Nottingham” and “Steal From the Rich” lend amusement to this musical.
The vocal performance from the cast is almost on par with a professional production.
Unfortunately, the acting is sometimes flat and uninspired. Lines are inaudible at times, and the dialogue between the musical numbers interrupts the flow of the play.
With a running time of nearly 150 minutes, “Robin Hood” drags along at times, and the hard wooden pews at the Franciscan Center are difficult to sit in comfortably for that long.
Fortunately, the impressive talent by the cast distracts from the play’s negatives and allows the production to be enjoyable.
Overall Rating: Good
The play begins at 8 p.m. and runs until Aug. 19. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased by calling 377-2596.