As they say in the forest, “free yourself of humduggery” and join the cast of Robin Hood at the Mid-Ohio Valley Players opening Friday June 17 at 7:00 pm. Your adventure includes a romp through Sherwood Forest, a night at the Blue Boar Tavern, and visits to the castle while you are immersed in the action as the cast uses the entire theater to bring this classic play to life. Directed by Amber Smrek with assistance from Angela Shrader and Sherri Knapp, the Players bring to life the adventures of a merry band of thieves under the direction of Robin Hood (or perhaps the beguiling Maid Marian) who steal from the rich and give to the poor all while thwarting the evil Sheriff.
But don’t let the idea of “classic” dissuade you from attending. This version of Robin Hood is hysterical with lots of biting sarcasm and action and even some drunken revelry. Ms. Smrek and her team choreographed an abundance of fight scenes. The cast fights with everything: long swords, short swords, large sticks, swords in one hand, swords in both hands. If they can fight with it, they do, with enthusiasm!
The best fighter of them all? Maid Marian, brought to life by Players newcomer Erika Jennings. New to the area but not new to community theater, Ms. Jennings’ Marian is a wise-cracking heroine who not only can wield a sword or two but she wins the guy in the end. Playing Maid Marian “felt like destiny” and the perfect role to introduce her to the local theater scene. You’ll enjoy watching Maid Marian as she not only wins the heart of Robin Hood but will also enchant the audience.
Each member of the cast has their shining moment, but a few stand out. Friar Tuck, played by John Burns, is hysterical during one scene where he enjoys a little snack and conversation with himself. George Faber, who portrays Much, brings his vocal and comedic talents to the stage as he sings his way through several scenes and is properly manhandled by Little John, played by equally funny Justin McKown. Nicholas Rake, as minstrel Alan-a-Dale, brings a steady presence and quite a bit of musicality in each of his scenes.
Audience members will recognize many of the Players from their previous performances this year along with some new faces. Ike Eastwood will make you boo out loud as the villainous Sheriff while Nathaniel Maciag shows a range of emotions as the evil Guy of Gisborne. Making his debut performance on the main stage is 12-year-old Leon Elliott who plays one of the Merry Men. Also new to the Players are Rebecca Maciag, Sam Bidwell, and Lindsey Dornon.
Robin Hood, sponsored by WesBanco, opens Friday, June 17 at 7:00 pm. Additional show times are June 24 and 25 at 7:00 pm and June 18 and 26 at 3:00 pm. Tickets cost $13 and are available at midohiovalleyplayers.org or at the box office.
But let’s get back to the fighting. There’s a lot of it! Word to the wise: don’t sit in the front two rows or you will literally end up in a sword fight.