Robin Hood at Prior Park Ball Court

revu-stormrobin2STORM on the Lawn, now in its 17th season at the ball court at Prior Park college above Bath, is always an exciting enterprise.

The public show is the culmination of three short weeks of intensive work by the young actors and back-stage crew, bringing together a new work in an atmospheric setting.

With a cast of 60, the director (here Heidi Vaughan on her third Storm) must make the action fluid and coherent, weaving both audience and actors into the spell of the story.

Her intention was to show that Robin Hood is a hero for all ages and times, populating his forest hideout with items from Freecycle and clothes “liberated” from the rich.

The Sheriff of Nottingham, in the vampish female person of Emily Molloy, encouraged her chilling henchman Sir Guy of Guisborne (Nick Harris) to trick the noble and idealistic Robin.

revu-stormrobin5Heidi brought the show to a brave and thoughtful conclusion, leaving the audience a bit stunned. But it was supremely effective and perfectly executed by the young company.

Storm’s Robin Hood has lots of action and humour, and a bit of romance too, but it is clearly set in a time when the wealthy few ride roughshod over the oppressed majority and while there might be a silver arrow, there is no easy remedy for humanity’s injustices.

As always with Storm on the Lawn productions, in among a vibrant and engaged company a few performances stand out.

Here they are the remarkable composure of Emma Scott as Much the Miller, and Martha Bennett as her daughter (also Much).

Will Maxwell impressed as Will Scarlet, and Daniel Hayman’s Robin led with powerful dignity.revu-stormrobin4

The use of taiko style drumming urged the pace and threat of the story, while the songs, sung by Martha Bennett and her “sister” Marion (Charlie Roker) added wistful counterpoint.

It’s an interesting and successful resetting of the famous legend of the hero who robbed the rich to give to the poor, and one that ably illustrates its timeless qualities.

revu-stormrobin3The production continues until Sunday 31st August. Contact Bath Theatre Royal for more information.


Photographs by Nick Spratling

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