ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF TEASE
TOOFLY PRODUCTIONS, Performance Works, April 28th - May 13th
My Two Cents
By Kelly Moncton
After a couple busy weeks of serious work, Robin Hood: Prince of Tease was a wonderful treat, and welcome change of pace. The burlesque musical from Toofly Productions is full of silly fun, bold energy, and bare skin.
Alan Pronger and Mike Kovac have written a modern take on the classic story, with a female Robin (Emily Pangburn) renowned for her dancing talent, rather than archery skills. Other familiar characters also reappear with a twist such as Claire Rice’s Prince Joan, still dangerously delusional, and a deliciously dumb Mann Marion, played by Joseph Spitale. They’ve written in new characters as well, to the point where the show feels over-full of vibrant, interesting people who we don’t get to know much about. Amid the many strong performances, Andrew Lynch stood out with his ridiculously lovelorn Sheriff and Katherine Alpen was charming and impish as Winkin, our narrator.
One of the most impressive feats of the show is how director and choreographer Dawn Ewan and the writers create variety in a night full of people taking off clothes. From Lauren Gula’s seductive duel with Robin to Matthew Fedorowicz’s outrageous production number (complete with impressive choreo-and-lighting coordination), the audience had a different reason to cheer each time. The crisp energy and commitment in the choreography throughout the night was thrilling.
I loved hearing familiar pop songs from artists like Beyonce and Sia reinterpreted for the story, and there were great voices onstage. Sadly, the technical side of balancing microphones and backing tracks didn’t always work out when I attended. The performers didn’t let it faze them, but it took away from the party atmosphere for the audience when we had to strain to hear the voices involved. We were encouraged to cheer and support the brave performers, but it felt rude to cheer louder than the singing.
With gravity-defying costumes, glow paint, piles of glitter, a wobbly phallic staff, and even a talented silk aerialist, there was so much to enjoy in Prince of Tease. The burlesque message of loving and embracing each body's beauty was whole-heartedly embraced, without resorting to preachy behaviour. If you're in the mood for deep contemplation, this might not be the right outing, but if you and a friend want some fun, hurry and see Robin Hood!