Tonika Todorova is an adventure architect and a passionate lover of the shared human experience.
Pictured: Gabriel Fries, Carlyle DePriest and Felipe Carrasco | Josh Darr
By Tonika Todorova
Adventure Stage Chicago invites us along for THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, the classic tale about a hero whose heroism swims in the murky waters of doing wrong to better another wrong. Geared for pre-teen and teen audiences, this production sticks to the story and for any student reading it in school, does a great job of bringing it to life. But being so true to the tale, the show lacks a bit of immediacy overall, and instead of bringing you in, it meanders between trying to be relatable and cool at the same time. Although, surely that might fit in with exactly what adolescence and puberty plague our youth.
The ensemble, consisting of three actors who switch in and out of all the roles, are quite adept to doing so, including wearing the hat (figuratively and literally) of the titular character himself, adding to the notion that anyone can be a hero, unsung or righteous or even unlikeable. By the same token, anyone can be a villain, and sometimes, villains need to be liked and loved, too. Felipe Carrasco, Gabriel Fries and Carlyle DePriest handle it all with ease, with a bag of tricks up their sleeves, including playing instruments, singing and fencing. Adding to the presentation are the video design of Liviu Pasare and the set design of Sully Ratke, allowing the more epic scenes to be executed with the limited cast, but it just doesn’t reach a level of excitement and adventure that it promises.
Nonetheless, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD offers plenty of dynamics, and for more visually-inclined folks, it might be better than reading the book. And though for some of the younger audiences in the room it feels a bit long (this might have had something to do with the opening’s pre-show and post-show engagement), as Irving Wallace says, “Anyone can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure,” and who better to do that than our youth?