The end of term show from the Bristol Old Vic Young Company is a modern retelling of Robin Hood. The familiar story of the heroic outlaw fighting the rich to feed the poor is there but in this very 2019 version, Robin is female and a power-hungry leader raising high taxes to build a wall hints at modern political goings on.
There are some impressive performances from the young actors, particularly Jess Dix as Robin, who stood out as the strongest on stage.
Particular praise also needs to be given to Ben Foster, a graduate of Bristol Old Vic’s Made in Bristol programme for actors aged 18-25, who was a last-minute stand-in for King Richard on press night. “He has only been playing the king since 10am this morning,” we were told before the action began. It was hard to tell though as apart from him holding his script and one prompt from the wings, he delivered a great performance.
All the actors play multiple parts in this fast-paced family show aimed at ages seven and above.
There are several funny moments including scenes with a group of mysterious but bumbling tax collectors who struggle to seize the money off the poor that the nasty sheriff needs for his wall. King Richard in a wedding dress is another highlight.
Rohan Thomas as the sheriff plays evil well as he tries to get Marion (Biba Vann) to marry him so he can take over the throne.
Some of the other performances were unfortunately a little weaker but there were some bright hopes for the future on the Weston Studio stage and we’re sure we’ll see several of them in the main auditorium at the Bristol Old Vic in the years to come.
Robin Hood is at Bristol Old Vic until 3 August.