Robin Hood

Castle Gardens, Norwich

Castle Gardens, Norwich

Righteous Englishmen resorted to longbows and swords in a struggle to throw off the yoke of tyrannous government in Norwich on Saturday. Thankfully, this wasn't because the city council's ongoing bid for unitary status had taken a nasty turn. Rather it was the doing of acclaimed Commedia dell'Arte troupe Ophaboom, whose screwball take on the Robin Hood legend was the latest instalment in the Open Stages programme of free summer theatre.

It is 1215 and things are looking grim in Nottingham. The Sheriff is intent on funnelling taxes into his property developments ('We will build cheap houses on flood plains!'), Friar Tuck has hit the Special Brew and Robin Hood is an ineffectual poseur. Can he unite the people, defeat the Sheriff and win the hand of nymphomaniac Maid Marion?

Of course he can - and along the way great fun is had by all, thanks to powerfully physical performances allied to witty improvised dialogue and sly topical references.

And at the end of this production, which successfully combined broad slapstick, earthy one-liners, puppetry and songs, the ecstatic applause was deserved by all.