‘The Trials of Robin Hood’

‘The Trials of Robin Hood’  was written by an American actor and puppeteer, Will Averill. This lively pantomime is being presented by the Murdoch Theatre Company at the comfortable well-managed Nexus Theatre, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch (near car park 3).

The 90-minute production – including a 15-minute interval – is suitable for any child over the age of 4yrs; youngsters may not understand the story, but will love the movement and costumes.

The shows can be seen at 6.30 pm on Saturday, with matinees at 1.00 pm on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th.

The set is simple with only a few, but unusual props (Justin Crossley), but the massive, spectacular scenic backdrops are artistic, yet retain the pantomime fun in the design (John King and Ally Snell).

       The King’s soldiers, Finn Lucky (Jess Serio), Tobias (Meagan Dux) and Bart Common (Bob Morshidi), have captured the ‘bold and lusty’ Robin Hood (Mike Davies). He is taken to the court of the wimpish King Richard (Mike Casas) who has just returned from the Crusades. The Sherriff of Nottingham (Tom Dimmick) thinks that Robin should be executed, but the King gives Robin is given a chance to tell his story to explain why he has been causing trouble in the area.

     When the Herald (Phillip Hutton) announces the arrival of the camp Prince John (Scott McArdle), the people of the town are filled with fear, as the prince’s tax collector (Shannen Precious) is already doing overtime. The King then announces new laws. No one can kill any King’s deer (Claire Tebbutt) in the forest, so shall Robin’s Merry Men, Will Scarlett (Jack Connolly), Willia Scarlet (Chelsea Kunkler), Much the Miller’s son (Kyle Blair), Daniel Boyle (Ryan Partridge) and Little John (Tym Sanders) starve as a result?

       Robin starts to put his case to the King, only to find that the love of his life, Maid Marian

(Harriet Fettis) and the Sherriff are also getting their chance to say what they think of Robin. The Sherriff tries to blacken Robin’s name by saying that his group are mainly wild women, including Madge the Miller’s daughter (Tarryn McGrath) and Nancy (Tijana Simich).

       When Guy of Gisbourne (Hock Edwards) sees his chance to marry Maid Marion, Alan a Dale (Launcelot Ronzan) announces the wedding in verse, and the gluttonous Friar Tuck (Shannon Rogers) arranges the church service. Tuck calls for the help of the semi-erotically dressed Abbess (Jenia Gladziejewski) and her athletic Sister Stephanie (Karen Hansord).

         Whose tale will win the heart of the King? You will get the chance to decide.

  The talented director, Rachel Doulton, has totally captured the genre of the pantomime. She has colour, beautiful costumes (Sarah Jackson, Harriet Fettis, Jenia Gladziejewski and Andrew David), great lighting (Scott McArdle, Katie Southwell, Sarah Bond) and a cast that is completely tuned in. Often in pantomimes, the chorus are a bunch of untalented, disinterested, leftover actors, here we do not have a ‘chorus’ as every member of the cast had individual personalities, filled with vitality and remained focused throughout.

There was an impressive fight scene using staffs of bamboo, choreographed by Launcelot Ronzan and Mike Casas. The makeup and hair by Cassee Lazic, Bec Robinson and Lillybelle Walton gave the crowning glory. With several actors having a few parts to play, fast costume changes and smooth entrances and exits were ensured by the stage staff, Kate Willoughby, Bella Doyle and Tim Leong.

With so many superb performances – there were not any bad ones, even the poorest was very good – it seems unfair to name any particular actors, but Mike Davies, Scott McArdle and Harriet Fettis shone.

This is a great value show for all of the family. Lots of laughs and impressive.