Wanted! Robin Hood

Amelia Donkor (Marian) and Ciaran Kellgren (Robin Hood) in Wanted! Robin Hood Picture: Jonathan Keenan
Amelia Donkor (Marian) and Ciaran Kellgren (Robin Hood) in Wanted! Robin Hood Picture: Jonathan Keenan
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Library Theatre at the Lowry, Salford

Robbing the rich to give to the poor may chime with the times but it also leads to some uneven wealth distribution in this seasonal production.

It’s actually the third outing this year, around the region’s theatres, for the Nottingham forest freedom fighter, which suggests there’s still some mileage in his legend.

Whether that extends to this adaptation, by writer Charles Way, rather depends on who you regard as its target audience.

It’s certainly too ‘talky’ to hold youngsters’ attention for too long, while the action scenes are still looking a little under-rehearsed.

Above all though the whole production looks hung up, like the chains that dangle around the stage design, on being a little too high-concept for its own good.

This self-consciousness 
extends to costume dressing that rejects your traditional Lincoln Green for more post-modern Boho Chic, and a stage backdrop that’s decidedly post-apocalyptic!

Considering it’s largely delivered by the team here behind last year’s award-winning Arabian Nights, there’s none of that production’s coherent story-telling, or clarity of action.

The occasional humour sits uneasily alongside the 
decidedly-unpleasant slaying of one character or the torture of 
another, although combat 
director Renny Krupinski excels himself with the flair shown in the fighting scenes.

In the title role Ciaran Kellgren is a love-struck hoodie – more needy than wanted– intent on becoming Maid Marian’s main man, rather than a tree-hugging tax reformer.

His Scouse tones are certainly more Knotty Ash than Sherwood Forest.

An old hand like Christopher Wright, as Eustace, manages to out-menace even his master the Sheriff of Nottingham, played with a designer dastardliness by Emilio Doorgasingh.

The production runs until January 11.

David Upton