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“Robin Hood” in the round, a robust rendition

Friar+Tuck+%28front+left%29%2C+played+by+Jake+Johnston%2C+and+Robin+Hood+%28right%29%2C+played+by+Cristian+Galvan%2C+discuss+Robin+entering+the+archery+tournament.+The+Merry%0AMen%2C+played+by+Steven+Ulam%2C+Isaac+Tolliver%2C+Niko+Cabela+%28from+left+to+right%29+listen.
Friar Tuck (front left), played by Jake Johnston, and Robin Hood (right), played by Cristian Galvan, discuss Robin entering the archery tournament. The Merry
Men, played by Steven Ulam, Isaac Tolliver, Niko Cabela (from left to right) listen.

Friar Tuck (front left), played by Jake Johnston, and Robin Hood (right), played by Cristian Galvan, discuss Robin entering the archery tournament. The Merry Men, played by Steven Ulam, Isaac Tolliver, Niko Cabela (from left to right) listen.

Brooke Sotelo

Brooke Sotelo

Friar Tuck (front left), played by Jake Johnston, and Robin Hood (right), played by Cristian Galvan, discuss Robin entering the archery tournament. The Merry Men, played by Steven Ulam, Isaac Tolliver, Niko Cabela (from left to right) listen.

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“The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood” was a zany, fourth-wall breaking production that left the audience in animated laughter for the majority of the second night on opening weekend.

Living up to the promise of a Monty Pythonesque performance, the play gave the audience a farcical retelling of the hero that robs from the rich and gives to the poor. “The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood” was rich with actors who gave spot-on performances, each actor bold enough to prove there was no one true star. It would not have worked as well with a single one of them missing.

Cristian Galvan, freshman communication major, as Robin Hood gave a strong performance of over-the-top displays of misery when kept from his true love with bits of an egocentric personality mixed in. The execution of character development as his story progressed was remarkably well-done and Galvan’s previous acting experience shined through in the second act.

Sarah Scasny, sophomore communication major, as Lady Marian was a petite force to be reckoned with. She was clearly confident in her role as nobility and she radiated a presence that allowed her to go toe-to-toe with the Sheriff of Nottingham during their scenes. Even between speaking lines, she carried herself in a poised manner that left her unforgotten. Her chemistry with Galvan was a sweet contrast to the moments she spent vehemently hating her scheming uncle and the sheriff.

James Solis as Sheriff of Nottingham was an archetype villain. He nailed the pacing and the drawl of his character that made his scheming all the more believable. Matthew Ruiz, who played the evil Prince John, and Solis perfectly complemented each other. Ruiz’s flamboyant prince left the audience in fits of laughter and his over-the-top dramatics rivaled Galvan’s own scenes of self-proclaimed despair.

Scenes with Jake Johnston as Friar Tuck were brief but notable because of his raspy voice and the slow gait he used to portray a character well past his age. The Merry Men, the group of outlaw followers of Robin that often answered in harmony, were a well-oiled machine that missed nothing. They even performed in subtle ways when the focus of who was speaking was on the other side of the room.

Jessica Bernardo as the Towns Gal was the quirkiest delight of the show. She supplied the audience with a soft voice that narrated the tale of the audience, while also serving as the fourth wall breaker that allowed the story to progress in ways that would have otherwise fallen flat in round theater.

The setup for the production worked for this play even though round theater can be hit or miss. The audience being on all four sides meant more work for the actors, who stepped up to the challenge and even managed to incorporate equal amounts of interaction on each side. The intimate setting created by the tarps enclosing the performance and the strings of lights overhead aided this and created audience immersion in the Sherwood Forest and other locations. The use of blue lighting and darkness for the more dramatic scenes was an appreciated setup that complemented a production that had only a few props and relied on the ability of the actors to make what was unseen believable.

The second act served a slightly smaller amount of comedy than the first as the plot development took focus. However, what it lacked in comedy it made up for in the underlying themes of friendship and humility that both Robin Hood and the audience were invited to learn.

“The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood” receives 4.5/5 stars.

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