This, the egg’s Christmas show, written and directed by Greg Banks, has very little about actual Christmas at all. Do we care? No. It concerns, as the title makes clear, yet another interpretation of the mythical tale of Robin Hood. Don’t expect historical accuracy, it’s not about that. The actual King Richard I, for instance, was certainly not any kind of saintly protector of his people. But hey, we like kids to believe in Santa Claus, don’t we, so who cares? This production turns the egg very effectively into a theatre in the round, enabling action to take place all over its beautiful auditorium. The cast of four actors, supported by skanking musical trio The Marianettes (geddit?) work as a seamless ensemble, as some of the familiar, and some not so familiar parts of the old stories are brought vividly to life. Though this is a show aimed at ages 6+, and the audience is mostly people that sort of age, there is no patronising talking down at any point. The cast are superb; singing, dancing, switching in and out of various characters with consummate ease, climbing all over the stage and the audience, and producing more energy than Hinkley Point. Particularly delicious are Stephen Leask’s portrayal of nasty, fat, money-obsessed Prince John in his bath; and Nik Howden’s suitably evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin and Marion are as heroic and as in love as you would wish – but none of this is soppy. As Little John makes clear, with a well-timed finger down the throat gesture. But there are myriad other characters to enjoy, a dog played by a foot being not the least, in this witty kaleidoscopic display of all the theatre skills. Good enough for kids? I think so.
John Christopher Wood