Robin Hood: Prince of...MONSTERS!
nytheatre.com review by Dan Kitrosser
February 14, 2010
Well, Zorlan Morlan is at it again, and this time not even Robin Hood and his band of merry men are a match for Zorlan's Monsters as they continue to invade our most precious books in Robin Hood: Prince of ... Monsters, the latest of installment of "Monster Literature," Mainspring Collective's hilarious and action-packed children series now playing at the Brooklyn Lyceum.
For those of you who have yet to witness these maniacal monsters, the premise is simple: In the future, monster megalomaniac Zorlan Morlan (Owen Scott) has decided that the only way to defeat humanity is by injecting monsters into their most prized pieces of literature, thereby changing the morals of mankind. But he meets his match every time, when heroine Benji Bleeglehorn (Jenna Weinberg) and her trusty sidekick Bravo Kirkwood (Aaron Matteson) fight back, jumping into the stories and teaching the monsters about friendship, loyalty and bravery. I enjoyed the first installment 'Twas the Night Before...Monsters! and so I had to come back and see the second. As a monster might say, Me Glad I Did!
Robin Hood, known for his bravery, is anything but in this version, penned by Daniel John Kelley. Zorlan Morlan has Robin Hood petrified to the point where, in the form of a wimpy and adorable Mike Green, Robin can't seem to do much of anything, let alone rob the rich and feed the poor. The kids howled as Robin Hood seemed to be afraid of the most trivial things, from the floor to the papier-mache trees. Channeling Ghostbusters' Annie Potts is Maya Baldwin as Zorlan's assistant, Monster Messenger, and at each appearance her dry lines (like "I do it for the dental insurance") give the adults something to look forward to as well as push the story forward. As always, Benji and Bravo are there to pull Robin Hood back together and in this installment, there is some wonderful chemistry between the two actors as Bravo laments his sidekick status and Benji applauds him for his bravery. These real relationships, amidst the fantasy of monsters and hijinks of farce, really keep the kids engaged and the story moving forward. All children's shows, no matter how bright and flashy, need to keep it real and in a couple of choice moments like this and the reconciliation with Zorlan Morlan at the end, "Monster Literature" does just that.
The show has now moved to the more spacious downstairs area of the Lyceum, and the production design has improved tremendously. What a joy it is to watch these silly monsters, costumed by Julia Mancini and with a terrific sound design by Nick Moore. I was impressed how full an experience the show was. Though the first half is a little sluggish, once the monsters arrive in their full stupidity, Robin Hood: Prince of...Monsters is a real treat.