Review: ‘Robin Hood’ at Imagination Stage

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Long live King Richard! Robin Hood (Chris Dinolfo) and his Merry Men (Jon Jon Johnson, Jason B. McIntosh, Nick DePinto) embark on their quest to steal from the rich, give to the poor, and join (not rescue) Maid Marian (Alina Collins Maldonado) in Robin Hood, directed by Founding Artistic Director Janet Stanford. A solid family show with a lot of heart, Robin Hood hits the bullseye at Imagination Stage.

The hero Robin Hood draws his bow. [Chris Dinolfo]. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Chris Dinolfo as Robin Hood. Photo by Margot Schulman.
In the retelling of the beloved story, Robin Hood and his band of mischiefs do what they can for food, defying the orders of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Michael Glenn) and greedy Prince John (Nick DePinto), who takes the throne while his brother, the kinder and much beloved King Richard, steps out to fight in war. According to Imagination Stage, the audience “will tag along through nail-biting duels, amazing feats of archery, miraculous escapes, and an epic romance as Robin and his rough-and-tumble band steal from the rich and feed the poor!” and I could not agree more!

The energetic and talented cast makes this imaginative production fun and unique. Playing multiple characters throughout the course of the play, the charismatic cast of six had the younger (and, I must admit, the older) audience members laughing and participating through various bits. Chris Dinolfo plays a whimsical and sometimes silly Robin Hood. Most comedic scenes were delivered by Michael Glenn’s evil Sheriff of Nottingham and his two henchmen (Jon Jon Johnson and Jason B. McIntosh). But the biggest reveal to me was how I had not realized that Nick DePinto, the guitar player from Robin Hood’s Merry Men, also plays the over the top, evil, and spoiled Prince John.

Robin Hood rocks out with his Merry Men. [L-R: Nick DePinto, Christopher Dinolfo, Jon Jon Johnson]. Photo by Margot Schulman.
Robin Hood rocks out with his Merry Men. [L-R: Nick DePinto, Christopher Dinolfo, Jon Jon Johnson]. Photo by Margot Schulman.
No Robin Hood story is complete without action and adventure; with fight and movement choreographed by Kelly and Mollye Maxner, this Robin Hood is sure to satisfy your sword fighting cravings. A highlight was the clever use of props (prop designs by Matthew Aldwin McGee), sometimes used to add sound effects to the archery and fight scenes by the actors themselves.

Although much of the storytelling is left to the imagination, scenic designer James Fouchard made sure nothing was left to the imagination when it came to ensuring the audience is submerged into the Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. This production retains the classic Renaissance look we all recognize of all Robin Hood tales. Costume designer Kendra Rai maintained the classic style of the clothing for all characters; from Robin’s pointy hat to the sheriff’s vest and boots.

Running Time: 90 minutes, with one intermission.

Robin Hood plays through May 20, 2018, at Imagination Stage – 4908 Auburn Ave, in Bethesda, MD 20814. For tickets, purchase them at the Imagination Stage box office, by phone at (301) 280-1660 or go online.

Note: Robin Hood is recommended for ages 4+. Open Captioning performance: Sunday, April 22 at 1:30 p.m., Sensory-Friendly performance:  Sunday, May 13 at 11:00 a.m., and ASL-Interpreted performance: Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 p.m. Free family workshop on physical comedy, slapstick, and beginning stage combat with ticketed admission following the 4:00 pm shows on May 19 and May 20.