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The Mass Media

See ‘The Heart of Robin Hood’ through Jan. 19

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‘The Heart of Robin Hood’

From now until Jan. 19, the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge is presenting audiences with a fresh take on the classic Robin Hood tale with their production, “The Heart of Robin Hood,” written by David Farr.
Even before curtains open, audiences are entertained with original songs performed by the bluegrass and folk-inspired band, Poor Old Shine from Connecticut, who offers a great preview of the laughs and adventures that are yet to come.
As the lively music plays in the background, audience members are able to take in a wonderfully simple yet stunning set. The stage is at ground level and is covered in turf complete with trees, a small pond, and trap doors that allow the actors to enter the stage from all levels. Some characters drop in from ropes dangling from the ceiling, others emerge from the pond, and others climb out from the top branches of an apparently sturdily built tree.
This play presents a new take on the iconic rogue thief played by Jordan Dean we have all grown up with. However, in this rendition, we see him slightly lose his way. Instead of having the noble intentions of the classic Robin Hood viewers are used to, this character is a bit more rough around the edges and steals only for himself.
He acts as a foil for Marion, the free spirited daughter of the duke who abandons her station at her castle to escape her engagement to the pompous and calloused Prince John. Not only does she abandon her post, she sheds her identity to become Martin of Sherwood, noble thief with a skill that rivals those of Robin Hood and his brutish band of thugs.
And make no mistake — although this play is named after Robin Hood, it is really Marion played by Christina Bennett Lind who steals the show. Her transformation from a femme fatale doomed to a marriage she doesn’t want into a courageous and feisty woman with the gumption to challenge Robin Hood to change his ways is believable and utterly entertaining.
But the major plot twist of the play? Marion falls in love with him. This is what sets this rendition of Robin Hood apart from others. While it has the same adventurous spirit that stays true to the iconic storyline, “The Heart of Robin Hood” has the added sweetness of an unlikely romance between the two main characters that will undoubtedly steal your heart as well.
This play has something for everyone to enjoy. The set is visually stunning, and audience members are constantly kept on their toes wondering where the actors will emerge from — will they drop in from the ceiling or come in swinging off a branch?
And there is no shortage of laughs thanks to Marion’s sassy tongue-in-cheek sidekick, Pierre, who goes under the alias of “Big Peter.” He keeps audiences attention with his witty one-liners delivered in over-the-top, theatrical fashion. If you sit up close enough, you might even get a wink from him as he delivers his jokes directly to the audience.
This production will go until Jan. 19, and you don’t want to miss out the sword fights, shenanigans, and sweet romances that are all part of this new and fresh take on the tales of Robin Hood.