08 November 2010

A good time with your family: Robin Hood

After delighting audiences throughout the country (including a season at Circa earlier this year) and around the world in He Reo Aroha, Jamie McCaskill returns to Circa to take the title role in Roger Hall’s Robin Hood, the Pantomime. He tells drama on the waterfront all about what it’s like to play that “good fulla” Robin Hood.

DOTW: Most of us know the classic story of Robin Hood – has anything changed in the pantomime version of it?

JM: All the typical characters are there apart from one of my favourites, Will Scarlett. We’re made outlaws because of the evil Prince John.  The Sheriff of Nottingham collects taxes, Robin falls in love with Maid Marian and he splits an arrow at the archery contest. That’s all there but I’m pretty sure that Robin Hood’s mother hasn’t featured this much in any other version of Robin Hood. This will definitely get the record for the most times “Nonny nonny no” has ever been said in a Robin Hood story, and the sheriff has a pet viking called Thor.

DOTW: The last time you were at Circa, you starred with Kali Kopae in He Reo Aroha. Now you’re back and starring together in Robin Hood – how would you describe/compare each experience?

JM: He Reo Aroha was a huge creative process for Kali and myself which made the experience of that show a lot more personal to us. Being in Robin Hood is relaxing in a way that we can keep it at arms length, we can have fun with it, we put in the hard work, but we’re not being effected by the pressure of presenting our own kaupapa in regards to story telling. We’re just enjoying being actors solely and putting 100% into that and bringing Roger’s script to life.

DOTW: How does it feel to play the title character, Robin Hood? What do you think of him?

JM: It’s pretty cool. I’m having a lot of fun and Sue gives us a lot of freedom in regards to working out our characters. Robin seems to be a bit of a good fulla who cares about the people. He likes singing and fighting in the bush. He doesn’t know what an orange is and he is an exceptional archer. What more can I say? I want to be him.

DOTW: What can you tell us about the rest of the cast?

JM: Loving working with Gavin Rutherford and Jeff Kingsford-Brown again, they’re cracking me up. I’m working with people who have years of experience in the craft so I sit there and watch how they work then steal their tricks. Weird thing is, Gavin seems to sing in an American accent. It’s just bizarre.

DOTW: What is the rehearsal process like for a show like this?

JM: It’s extremely frustrating until I get over myself.

DOTW: What can audiences expect from Roger Hall’s Robin Hood?

JM: They can expect a fast-paced, witty script with accessible humour. Crack up performances by actors I look up to, Kali Kopae singing beautifully, a smiling Michael Williams whose music you will be singing when you leave the theatre, and a good time with your family.

Nga mihi ki a koutou katoa

Robin Hood opens 13 November and runs until 23 December, returning in the New Year for a two week season, 4-15 January. Tickets are available by calling the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or going online at www.circa.co.nz

Celebrate the holidays with Robin Hood! Bring your family or a group of friends to the panto and enjoy a pre-show platter or dessert at Wharfside Restaurant. Platter (sweet or savoury) or dessert packages cost just $12.50 per person (beverages additional), on top of the ticket price. For more information, contact Audience Development Director Cara Hill at 801-8137.

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