Adventure Stage's Adventures of Robin Hood asks young audiences to ponder the nature of heroism | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

Adventure Stage's Adventures of Robin Hood asks young audiences to ponder the nature of heroism 

The production's nurturing environment invites whole-hearted interaction.

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Josh Darr

Defining heroism is something even the youngest viewers at Adventure Stage's fast-paced, mostly lo-fi, family-friendly adaptation of Robin Hood seemed to have no trouble with during a preshow chat. It's the follow-up question that left the kids a little stumped: Who gets to define which actions are deemed heroic?

Twenty-plus characters and a concise mini epic about vigilante economics and moral relativism later, they still were short on answers. But answers don't seem like the endgame for Adventure Stage or Adrian Danzig's production—merely getting the wheels turning in young audience member's heads is enough of a goal. Warm and approachable performers Felipe Carrasco, Gabriel Fries, and Carlyle DePriest wear a lot of hats (literally) in a frenzied, puppet- and projection-filled run-through of the classic folk legend. It's so playful and frantic that, between all the accents and role swapping, this full-grown viewer had a little trouble keeping things straight, and I suspect some of that dynamism is what resulted in some fidgetiness among the little ones toward the end, even given what is par for the course in the young-audience genre.

Not all of that fidgeting was related to being antsy—one child, who looked about five, jumped and danced and moved in his seat in tandem with the performers onstage until the final curtain. And it's to Adventure Stage's credit that the bilingual, socially conscious, nurturing environment it consistently fosters invites that sort of whole-hearted interaction.   v

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