Archery is back on the rise with the popularity of The CW’s “Arrow” and the cash cow that is known as “The Hunger Games” leading the way to have a new generation trying their hand at putting an arrow through a target with grace and finesse. You can have all of that because I like to take it old school and give that credit to the legend of Robin Hood. Taking from the rich, giving to the poor, leading a life of adventure with his band of Merry Men, and rescuing his true love from an evil Sheriff and an even more evil prince named John. Sure, the story has been told a bazillion times, but I am always a sucker for when a new one arrives, and the Wyly Theater in Dallas is currently featuring the world premiere of the latest musical version with “Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure.”
With the feel of being in a small town barn watching a small town theatre company show their version of the story (complete with “homemade” costumes), “Hood” is one of those productions that can only be described as pure fun. Between the creative costuming, constant breaking of the fourth wall, charming musical numbers, and solid cast, there is nothing about this production that I didn’t like. Nick Bailey shows the tongue-firmly-in-cheek title character that was reminiscent of Cary Elwes’ turn in “Men in Tights” combining it with an Errol Flynn-type look, while Ashley Park absolutely crushes it as Marian with absolutely flawless chemistry with Bailey. And as great as this cast is, there HAS to be special attention paid to Jacob ben Widmar, whose Will Scarlett really brings the funny, but with most cast members playing multiple roles, his dual performance as the first couple Robin takes from is nothing short of comedic genius. Alysha Umphress also impresses as Meg, Robin’s childhood friend who lives in Sherwood Forest and protects him as he discovers his true destiny, with a purity in her voice that carries through the room beautifully.
Again, there is nothing about “Hood: The Robin Hood Musical Adventure” that I didn’t like. While I don’t see it being on the Great White Way proper, it would not surprise me to see this as at least a national touring company, building enough buzz to get it to Off Broadway status for a very long run. Combining elements of The Zucker Brothers, Monty Python, Mel Brooks, and the tellings of the classic tale before them, this should be a part of your “must see” list when it plays near you, and if you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, check it out while it is here, through August 6th!