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Robin Hood and Marian at New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme – ‘largely enjoyable’

Isaac Stanmore and Crystal Condie in Robin Hood and Marian at the New Vic. Photo: Andrew Billington Isaac Stanmore and Crystal Condie in Robin Hood and Marian at the New Vic. Photo: Andrew Billington
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The New Vic’s artistic director Theresa Heskins has been responsible for some of the North Staffordshire theatre’s greatest hits in recent years, not least last Christmas’ record-breaking production of The Borrowers and a highly acclaimed version of Around the World in 80 Days. Her imaginative style and ingenuity are simply stunning. But having set the bar so high, it was perhaps inevitable that one day she would fall slightly short – which is the case with this production.

In a typically innovative manner she has managed to weave a celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta into the ageless Robin and Marian legend. The trouble is, this is neither an adventurous romp for younger theatregoers nor a tale to totally engage an older audience. This is not helped by the fact that the excellent music being played live frequently drowns out some of the dialogue.

That said, there is still much to commend this show. The abundant fight scenes are well presented, the set design impressive and the clever representation of forest creatures is delightful. While Isaac Stanmore underplays the Robin character, Crystal Condie makes a suitably feisty Marian, and has a fine singing voice to boot.

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A largely enjoyable affair, but one or two notable shortcomings