Off of its newly won Tony Award, Dallas Theatre Center gave us a show that, with a little work, is ready for Broadway.
this show was magnetic from the first syllable. Opening with an overlapping history of Robin Hood and his Merry Men the show morphs into an embellished retelling of the men, and women, in lincoln green. The
The music by Lewis Flinn is so full of life and vigor mixing a more modern folk stlye with trubador-like numbers; plus when you have voices like Alysha Umphress, Ashely Park, and Nick Bailey, you can’t go wrong.
However, beautiful music and a cornucopia of strong actors can’t hide the glaring issues HOOD has with its book.
Robin Hood has so many iconic characters that HOOD is giventhe challenge to introduce them all into the story while still advancing the plot. This is where HOOD bit off more than it could chew.
By spending majority of Act 1 introducing each of the Merry Men and wasting time on pointless plot threads, we miss out on important character building for the emotional core of the show: Meg.
Alysha Umphress’s character Meg was the only one not originally in the tales of Robin Hood. She was created to be an embodiment of the poor and opressed Robin protects, and she urges him to be Robin Hood. However, after she does this there’s no need for her besides singing some pretty songs and becoming the martyr that Robin and the Merry Men need to continue. There wasn’t enough time dedicated to Meg’s character, making her sacrifice fall a little flat despite a stunning performance by Umphress.
Now, where HOOD lacked in a streamlined story, it made up for in all the technical elements.
The concept of the show was found objects, meaning props and many of the costumes were created using random objects that evoked the feeling that the designers were trying to emulate.
Having this concept in a show like HOOD made it a far more layered viewing experience because it added to the comedy and storytelling in ways that were unexpected, but incredibly welcomed.
The set, designed by John Lee Beatty, was breathtaking. It was made to resemble a barn, giving the story a warm home that gave the found object concept reason. One of the most unexpected uses of set dressing was a plethora of green birdcages that flew in and created the canopies of Sherwood Forrest. It was one of the most breathtaking designs of a set I have ever seen, and it was like its own character, which is a very difficult accomplishment that Beatty was able to accomplish.
Despite one slight downfall, HOOD is a show that could easily make the Broadway jump with a little more love and work put into it. It was truly an unforgettable romp through Sherwood Forrest with Robin, Marian, and the Merry Men.