Robin of Stratford - The Heart of Robin Hood at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, November 2011 - January 2012

Posted: 17th May 2011

If you like your swashes buckled, your rich robbed and your sheriffs evil, then chances are you're a bit of a Robin Hood fan.

And if you're a genuine fan of the Sherwood Forest legend then you are probably somewhat fatigued by the endless adaptations, not least the two major Hollywood offerings with Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe, complete with changeable accents and convenient geographical oversights. Costner's Robin even had the cheek to shift his 'authentic' accent from California to the Midwest at one point. Everyone knows Robin Hood was from LA.

Or Salford. The BBC's early Saturday evening ratings winner ran from 2006 and starred the rough-hewn Jonas Armstrong as Robin. The refreshing northerness Armstrong brought to the role soon wore off however and, after three series, viewing figures began to slide as audiences went in search of even more Ant'n'Dec. The BBC revival of the Hood legend was the first major TV adaptation since Jason Connery's impossibly well-coiffured mid-eighties ITV Robin.

Then there's the classic 1973 Disney animated version, still much-loved. Your Nan might remember the Errol Flynn 1938 version; The Adventures of Robin Hood. There are many (many) more.

It's tiresome isn't it? What we need is a highly credible stage version, from the RSC perhaps.

From November, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford will see a run of The Heart of Robin Hood, 'a swashbuckling family show' written by the RSC's David Farr who has recently directed King Lear and The Winter's Tale. As the evil Prince John plots to steal his brother's crown, amid 'chaos and fear', Marion boldly protects the poor and convinces Robin 'he must listen to his heart if they are to save the country.

It sounds ace. The production runs from 22nd November to January 2012. Tickets are available now, starting at £14.

Stewart Darkin