Review: RDC’s Robin Hood looks magnificent, but needs more passion, humour

Review: RDC’s Robin Hood looks magnificent, but needs more passion, humour

Set and costumes are a delight in this Red Deer College production

Zinging arrows, clashing swords and star-crossed lovers pledging their troth beneath gnarled branches of ancient oaks.

There’s no doubt about it — Red Deer College’s Robin Hood, which opened Thursday on the Arts Centre stage, is one fantastic-looking production.

The spectacular set, designed by Angela Dale, enchantingly encompasses the looming majesty of Sherwood Forest, the cold austerity of Prince John’s castle, and Nottingham’s bustling town square.

The colourful medieval costumes, as envisioned by designer Brian Bast, seemingly spring from the pages of a lavishly illustrated children’s book.

And the swashbuckling antics of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, as adapted by Ruth Smillie and directed by Kevin McKendrick, hit all the familiar notes. Even the arrows magically strike their intended targets.

Yet, despite so much going right in this production, the passion, excitement and humour needed to make this story truly entertaining were largely lacking during the opening night performance.

Smillie uses courtly dialogue (“Surrender, outlaw!” “Miserable cur!”) to tell this timeless tale of a nobleman Robin Hood (Ronnie McLean), who goes rogue to fight for the poor and oppressed during Prince John’s unjust stewardship in England.

But many of the young cast members were reciting their lines instead of creating memorable, larger-than-life characters.

I say forget subtlety: Crank it up a few notches and have fun with it, people! Let’s see acting of Disney-like proportions!

The villains need to be hand-rubbingly, maniacally evil. The noble characters should be sickeningly good and earnest. The heroes are required to be flamboyant dare-devils of the Errol Flynn School of Gallantry. And the cowards have to literally quake in their boots with fear.

Several cast members were well on their way, including McLean as Robin Hood, Kira Kirkland as Maid Marian, Mike Richards (Sheriff of Nottingham), and Theo Grandjambe (Guy of Gisbourne).

Real standouts were Stuart Old (King Richard/Robert de Passy), Maggie Chisholm (Lady Lily) and Tanner Chubb (lovelorn minstrel Alan-a-Dale).

Since other second-year theatre students have impressed in other shows, they might simply need more time to gel in the roles — and could very well own them by the end of the play’s run.

Then Robin Hood will look — and truly feel — magnificent.

The play with music continues to Dec. 3.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Attendees of the Downtown Red Deer Market, which runs every Wednesday during the summer on Little Gaetz Avenue, have complained about the lack of public washrooms. (Photo contributed by Red Deer Downtown Business Association)
Portable washrooms to be set up in downtown Red Deer this summer

More data is needed before the city invests in a permanent structure

A survey of 3,083 Red Deer residents was done by an online platform on behalf of the City of Red Deer, generating about 11,607 comments.. (File photo)
Red Deerians speak out about COVID-19 concerns in survey

More than 3,000 city residents were surveyed

A Calgary energy company's request for a tax break was turned down by Lacombe County. About $31,000 was owed by a company that went bankrupt and Silverleaf Resources Inc. bought some of their assets.
(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe County turns down oil company’s tax break request

Silverleaf Resources Inc. hoped for break on $31,000 in back taxes

RCMP recovered hundreds of stolen items, including Bibles and historical items stolen from the Bowden Pioneer Museum.
(Photo from RCMP)
Museum artifacts among hundreds of stolen items recovered by RCMP in central Alberta

Second World War and other historical and religious items recovered

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his solo home run during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Monday, March 1, 2021, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) clears the puck in front of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) looks for the rebound during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Rugby training gear is shown during a Torotno Wolfpack during a practice at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London,  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) and centre Chris Tierney (71) get sandwiched between Flames defencemen Rasmus Andersson (4) and Juuso Valimaki (6) during second-period NHL action in Ottawa on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Team Canada's Jocelyne Larocque celebrates her goal past the U.S.A. with goaltender Embrace Maschmeyer during first period of Women's Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver on February 5, 2020. The Canadian women's hockey team opened a camp Monday in Halifax, which is co-hosting the upcoming world championship. Hockey Canada invited 35 players to participate in the seven-day camp closed to the public and media at Scotiabank Centre. The women are training under restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a limit of 25 players on the ice at one time. "They will continue to follow strict COVID-19 testing as per team health and safety protocols that have been detailed and approved by Nova Scotia Public Health," Hockey Canada said Monday in a statement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Most Read