Abney Park is a beautifully atmospheric and haunting cemetery in the heart of Stoke Newington, and huge credit to director Lil Warren for using it to stage 09 Lives’new production here. The Valour of Robin Hood is a new play by first time playwright Amii Griffiths, and it’s great fun.
We are led deep through the pathways and undergrowth by a guitar wielding Alan-A-Dale into a series of comic scenes and set-pieces, all played with verve by the excellent cast, who are clearly enjoying themselves.
One of the play’s neat ideas is to have Robin Hood as the name of a collective rather than the singular hero of old. The story finds our collective pitched against a punitive, unfair tax system. If that sounds slightly left-wing well, that’s because it is, but the politics of the piece are worn lightly.
This is an entertaining, immersive adventure for all ages. Part of my enjoyment was seeing a young child, wearing his own knight’s helmet and sword, thoroughly absorbed in Robin Hood’s caper to rob the Sherriff of his gold, and recapture one of their band of merry men and women.
There is plenty of audience interaction, including sing-alongs, and panto-type boos and cheers and as the day shifts into night the setting becomes genuinely magical.
I hesitate to highlight individual performances in such a tight ensemble piece but watch out for Gary Cain as Alan-a-Dale and the lovely singing of Sarah Warren as Will Scarlet. 4/5
Review written by Paul McNeilly.
The Valour of Robin Hood is currently showing until Sunday 16th September at Abney Park. For more information on the production, visit here…
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