- The Forge
Sherwood Forest is being plundered by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. The King has suffered a defeat with the Crusaders. Who will protect the people?
It’s Robin Hood! Watch him learn to split arrows, woo maidens and see the beginnings of his quest to take from the rich and give to the poor.
Gather family and friends, pack a picnic and enjoy a cheeky take on this well-loved story in the wooded surrounds of Riccarton House as The Forge at The Court present all-ages comedy from the team who brought you Peter Pan & The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Entry by donation and refreshments will be available for purchase.
Wednesday to Sunday, 7pm (no performances on Mondays or Tuesdays)
2pm Matinees on 4th, 5th, 6th, 12th, 18th & 19th February
FREEWHEELING, SLIGHTLY CHAOTIC AND PACKED WITH POP-CULTURE REFERENCES
This version of Robin Hood is definitely more Men in Tights than Prince of Thieves.
The latest open air Summer Theatre production is an infectiously silly and funny collection of jokes hung very loosely on the Robin Hood legend.
Staged in the beautiful Riccarton House grounds, this show offers enough silly spectacle for children to enjoy and enough dirty jokes that will soar over the heads of the children and entertain the adults.
It feels like a mash up of Monty Python, Mel Brooks, Horrible Histories and Maid Marian and her Merry Men.
Rather than feeling coldly and meticulously staged, this is a freewheeling and slightly chaotic production. It is also packed with pop-culture references to everything from Rocky to Shortland St and Bryan Adams to Kevin Costner.
The large cast of eight actors mixes young performers drawn from the Court Theatre Youth Company with more experienced hands like Summer Theatre vet Andrew Ford and Outwits co-founder Jared Corbin.
In fact, The Outwits feel like another influence on this production. You can feel the anarchic and irreverent spirit of Summer Theatre productions staged over many years by The Outwits, like The Complete History Of Christchurch Abridged and New Zealand Rocks!
The Forge Theatre has produced more recent Summer Theatre productions, but it is nice to see the influence of The Outwits live on.
While some of the younger cast members excel, particularly Carrie Green as the Sheriff of Nottingham, some performers need more stage time before they can match their more experienced cast members.
I also feel the high energy show would have worked better as a single hour, rather than 45 minutes with an interval and then about 30 minutes for the second half.
But the show doesn’t outstay its welcome and director Dan Pengelly keeps the jokes coming at a rapid pace throughout the running time.
This is Pengelly’s final production at the Forge Theatre before he takes up a new role as creative director of Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North next month.
The show he directed before this was a stunning and moving production of The Events, which could not be further away from the joyful silliness of Robin Hood.
He is clearly a versatile and talented director who will be missed on the Christchurch theatre scene.
Review by Charlie Gates for The Press
POLISHED DEXTERITY AND TIMING SUPPORTS GENIAL, COLOURFUL NONSENSE
Reviewed by Lindsay Clark, 2 Feb 2017
In The Forge version of the Robin Hood story, some tricksy gender reversal spices things further. Among the clutch of notables, Robin is played by a nimble Sophia Benter-Lynch, her hard won Marian (first spied in a maid’s apron), by Nick Cheesebrough, the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham by Carrie Green and Little Joan, in a double whammy of the gender whim, by Jared Corbin.
A Guy from Gisborne could only be played by Andrew Ford, whose over the top relish of baddie roles has contributed memorably also in the earlier productions. The ensemble is sometimes a band of merry maidens and sometimes a posse of guards, managing the switches with the flick of a hood and plait.
The fun with roles sets a mood not far short of joyful send-up. Combined with plentiful corny humour and a sprinkling of double entendre, the production races through the high points of the traditional story and the audience loves every moment.
Notable features for me are the polished dexterity and timing whereby comings and goings as well as multi-roles are handled. The cast’s slickness and energy more than compensates for minor niggles of vocal quality or contrived action. Scarlet streamers of blood and frequently elegant death exits, over a low point at centre back, are further examples of the genial and colourful nonsense permeating the whole production.
The production team serves all this well. Sound in particular (design Tom Harris, operator Geoff Nunn) is a critical element in the experience, as are Oliver Morse’s fun props and functional set. Hayley Douglas’s costumes give an appropriate nod to the status and period requirements of the tale. Dan Pengelly’s confident direction welds all into an engaging dollop of family friendly fun, just needing the co-operation of fickle summer weather to ensure the season it deserves.
Review by Lindsay Clark for Theatreview
Anthony Harper Summer Theatre is part of the Christchurch City Council SummerTimes programme.
Entry by donation