TSOTA were lucky enough to gain access to Q&As with actor Neil Reynolds and actress Siobhan Athwal ahead of the production of Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny at York Theatre Royal from August 4 to September 2.
Q&A with Neil Reynolds
Question: What did you know about the Robin Hood legend before being cast in the show?
NR: I’d heard of him, of course. The Disney cartoon – it’s a classic with Robin as the cheeky fox. He stole from the rich to give to the poor. He was the people’s champion and the people’s hero. And I played Robin in a school play when I was young although I don’t remember much about it.
Question: How would you describe Robin in the York production?
NR: Very aloof, open, honest, happy-go-lucky, wears his heart on his sleeve. He always sees the good in people. He’s lovable but a bit reluctant to get involved. You want to go to him, “Come on, you can do it”. Everyone wants the best for Robin, and Maid Marian is trying to mould him into this hero.
Question: Any romance between Robin and Marian?
NR: Their relationship is really innocent. A friendship. Like in primary school where boys and girls are friends. It’s like “you really like me, I really like you, you’re such a cool person”.
Question: You’ve appeared in the CBBC BAFTA award-winning series Secret Life of Boys but Robin Hood marks your professional stage debut – how has it been?
NR: I was really nervous at the start. With television, you just sit on your own for a bit, read your script and are in your own space, then go on camera, do what you have to do with everyone, then someone says “Cut!” and you go back on your own. In theatre everyone is like a unit with different people from all walks of life.
TSOTA: Why should people come and see Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny?
NR: It’s got singing, dancing, rapping. It’s got heart. It’s really funny as well. I’m not being biased but every day we rehearse for the whole day and even at five o’clock I’m still laughing my head off. I’ve seen the same scene being done 18 times in a row and I’m still laughing.
Q&A with Siobhan Athwal
Question: How would you describe Maid Marian in this version of Robin Hood.
SA: What struck me about Marian is that over the years there have been different variations of her character, usually as a damsel in distress. This York version really gripped me because she’s not a damsel in distress in any way. She takes back who she is and what has got lost over the years. She’s a strong woman, a believer, a go-getter.
Question: So she’s a modern woman?
SA: It’s a current reflection of society – it’s about other people accepting us and who we are. In our production, Marian very much has a journey in herself as well as living up to other people’s expectations. It’s a very colourful journey and an honour to play this part the way Richard (Hurford) has written it, and Damien (Cruden) and Suzann (McLean) are directing it.
Question: Why should people come and see Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny?
SA: You can be inspired. We’re saying, “look what’s possible. Go and do it”.
Catch Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny at York Theatre Royal from 4th August to 2nd September.