Rockin’ Robyn

When I first heard of the production Robyn Hood from one of my students in Seniors College, I thought it sounded like quite a riot, considering the play had a cast of 75—Charlottetown’s version of a cast of thousands—and the script by Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam wove several stories together with contributions from the cast. One must certainly investigate a claim of that magnitude. After opening night at the Homburg Theatre, I can say with certainty the claim is completely true.

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The Confederation Centre of the Arts kicked off the Christmas season with Robyn Hood, a comic musical adaptation of the legend of Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, except this time, Robyn is a woman out to defeat the power-hungry Prince John of the Kingdom of Charlottetown. Maria Campbell, an alumna of the Confederation Centre Young Company, belted out a charmingly exuberant Robyn Hood supported all throughout by Friar Tuck, played Alana Bridgewater, whose powerful and lovely voice filled the theatre—the two were perfectly matched singing together.

Not to be outdone was Maid Marian, played by Jessica Gallant, who matched the mood with her music as she tried to solve her dilemma: to betray or not to betray? Sarah MacPhee’s signature Town Crier role was resurrected yet once again and given the opportunity to rise in the ranks, thanks to Matt Rainnie’s dastardly pouting Prince John’s machinations. He was joined on stage by his two daughters in the Charlottetown ensemble impoverished by being taxed to the max by Prince John.

The numerous scenes offered multiple opportunities to shift around the cast of 75—filling the stage was certainly not a problem in this production. Although the production was not technically perfect, the minute slips here and there were easily covered up by the ribaldry and jokes that spared no one. A great deal of the humor, however, is strictly local and anyone who is not familiar with PEI culture might not understand why people were laughing. There was a generous dose of tongue-in-cheek wit throughout the play and even the songs were selected from a wide range of sources to provide a lively musical tapestry.

Besides the occasional dancer with lower energy levels, the performance was bursting with rollicking fun. Garnett Gallant’s set design was just right and I wonder if anyone else picked up on the bit of irony with the Bundy clock, guitar, golf cart, and Maid Marian’s selfie during the wild chase through the Christmas-lit forest, not to mention the occasional hand microphone appearing on stage after Friar Tuck declared the play would bring us back to a time before cellphones, iPads, and Netflix! Deliberate or not, inconsistencies aside, it all added up to a great deal of fun that might have started a tad slow but certainly built up to a rousing end.

If you’re in for some Christmas cheer, this is just the performance to see!

Review by Cindy Lapena. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.com.

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Ready! Aim! Robyn Hood!

Robyn Hood and her ‘Fairly Merrily Men’ are riding to the rescue this holiday season. Adam Brazier’s comedy-musical Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier comes to life this week, premiering Friday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m. and playing select dates until December 17 at the Homburg Theatre.

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From the comedic minds of Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam, Sobeys LIVE @ the Centre presents a ridiculous musical in the ‘pantomime’ tradition. Expect great music, dancing, and gags in this madcap adventure set in the Kingdom of Charlottetown and Sherwood-Parkdale Forest. Audiences are asked to boo the villain (Matt Rainnie’s tyrannical ‘Prince John’), cheer our heroes (Maria Campbell and Jessica Gallant as ‘Robyn Hood’ and ‘Maid Marian’), and revel in plentiful local humour and holiday cheer.

Robyn Hood features a cast of 75 performers, including Charlottetown Festival regular Alana Bridgewater (Spoon River, Hairspray), Sarah MacPhee (reprising her annual role as ‘the Town Crier’), Putnam (Sketch 22, Annekenstein), and students from the Holland College and Confederation Centre School of Performing Arts. See the full cast list online.

Musical Director Craig Fair leads the production’s many vocalists and community orchestra through an electric song list of musical theatre and pop hits, including ‘9 to 5′, ‘Feel the Same Way Too’, ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and many more. Choreography is from Taryn Verkerk, stage management from Anne Murphy, set design from Garny Gallant, and lighting design from Steve Ross.

Starting at just $25, tickets are on sale now. Visit confederationcentre.com/theatre or contact the box office at (902) 566.1267. The official hashtag is #RobynConfed. Appreciation is extended to production sponsor Maid Marian’s Diner and media sponsors The Guardian, Hot 105.5, and Ocean 100.

Home for the Holidays

Adam Brazier’s holiday musical has added a local star, with the pride of Ten Mile House, Jessica Gallant joining the production as Maid Marion.

Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier marks the first time the Charlottetown Festival mainstay has performed in a Christmas musical comedy for Confederation Centre, and Gallant is excited for everything this hilarious adventure will hold.

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“I’m thrilled to be performing at home during my favourite time of year — Christmas!” says Gallant, who spends the fall and winter months in Toronto. “Although the Island temperatures may feel cold, the season is so warm and exciting. I’m expecting nothing but belly-laughs and wit with Adam’s take on Robyn Hood!”

Although this marks her first role in one of Brazier’s holiday farces, which include Cinderella and Aladdin, Gallant has been a Festival favourite for more than five seasons. She first debuted with the Confederation Centre Young Company in Abegweit: the Soul of the Island before making her Homburg Theatre debut as Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™.

She also appeared in the world premiere of Evangeline, and productions of Mamma Mia! and Alice Through the Looking-Glass. She played Canada’s favourite redhead for the past two Festival seasons while continuing to perform in musicals and workshops in the Toronto area during the year.

Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier will be staged at Confederation Centre on select dates, December 9 to 17, 2016. Enjoy an alluring song list of musical theatre and pop hits – including ‘9 to 5,’ ‘Holding Out For A Hero,’ ‘Imagination,’ and ‘The Final Countdown’ – and a cast of dozens of Island school children and community performers.

Artistic Director Adam Brazier will direct and the script is by Brazier and Graham Putnam, with Festival mainstay Craig Fair as music director and Matthew MacInnis as production stage manager. Maria Campbell stars as the female Robyn Hood with Alana Bridgewater as Friar Tuck, and more principle casting to be announced next week.

Robyn Hood and Her Fairly Merrily Men Ride to the Rescue

Holding Out For a Hero? Robyn Hood and her Fairly Merrily Men are riding to the rescue this holiday season! From the comedic minds of Adam Brazier and Graham Putnam comes Robyn Hood: This Tale’s Even Fairlier, at Confederation Centre on select dates, December 9 to 17, 2016.

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Following the tradition of 2014’s Cinderella: A Fairly Tall Tale and last year’s Aladdin: Another Fairly Tall Tale, the Centre brings you a new ridiculous musical celebration at Christmastime. Enjoy stunning music, dancing, and laughter, plentiful local references, and a cast of dozens of Island children and performers.

Artistic Director Adam Brazier will direct, with Festival mainstay Craig Fair (Ring of Fire; Canada ROCKS!, Mamma Mia!) as music director and Matthew MacInnis (Mamma Mia!; Evangeline; Alice Through the Looking-Glass) as production stage manager.

P.E.I.’s own Maria Campbell (Jasmine in 2015’s Aladdin; Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart) stars as the female Robyn Hood in the Kingdom of Charlottetown. The Evil Prince John rules the capital city with an iron first, but just beyond the castle walls, in Sherwood-Parkdale Forest, Robyn Hood has hatched a plan to take back the Kingdom and steal from the 1% to give to middle class.

Campbell is an alumna of the Centre’s Young Company who performed at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. The Charlottetown native also appeared in Leslie Arden’s Harvest Moon Rising (The Guild) as well as in Albert Herring while completing her Master of Music at The University of Auckland.

She’ll be joined by Charlottetown Festival veteran Alanna Bridgewater as Friar Tuck. Known for her towering voice, Bridgewater is a Gemini-nominated vocalist/performer who’s been a member of Johnny Reid’s touring band and appeared in Mirvish’s We Will Rock You, as well as Festival credits in this summer’s Spoon River and as ‘Motormouth’ in Hairspray! Belfast, P.E.I. native, Sarah MacPhee also returns in the role she is still forced to play, The Town Crier. Additional core casting will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Starting at just $25, tickets are on sale now for members of Confederation Centre, with tickets available to the general public as of Thursday, September 8.

Visit confederationcentre.com/theatre or contact the box office at (902) 566.1267.