Printable CopyFUGITIVE
Windmill Theatre
The Space
Until 09 Mar 2014

Review by Brian Godfrey

Only three things are certain in life: death, taxes and a great production from Windmill Theatre.

“Fugitive” is the second play in a trilogy being staged by the company as part of this year’s Adelaide Festival: the other two being “Girl Asleep” and “School Dance”. They all stand alone but have two things in common; they all deal with the highs and lows of adolescence and all three were written by Matthew Whittet.

Whittet’s writing appeals as equally to adults as it does to teens, through his use of modern idiom and older ‘pop’ culture references. “Fugitive” is no exception. This retelling of the Robin Hood legend, set in a near-future Australia has Robin using such terms as ‘dude’, ‘chill out’ and ‘not cool, man’, and heavily uses “Star Wars” references throughout; the ‘baddies’ (Knights) wear white Stormtrooper helmets (complete with mechanical vocals), the forest background suspiciously resembles the Ewoks’ home planet of Endor, and spot the toy used in the first scene.

Using the themes of good and evil, right and wrong, gangs, jealousy, where adolescence ends and adulthood begins, and one of the best ‘sit up and take notice’ opening scenes to grace the Space, this is good, speedy, fun and entertaining theatre.

Rosemary Myers throws every trick she has (and there seems to be many) into the direction and makes sure her top-notch cast keep it fast paced.

As Robin, Eamon Farren is the perfect Gen Y ‘bad boy’ good guy, and his scenes with Kate Cheel as Marion Maid work a treat and are totally believable. Cheel, wonderful as always, gives her Marion a nice strong modern woman vibe.

Writer Whittet makes a nicely nerdy Will; Patrick Graham is humorous as Little John with a big problem; Danielle Catanzariti is the perfect Greek chorus as Much Junior; job equality is taken seriously with the villainous Sheriff being a woman and played well by Carmel Johnson, but it is her Friar Tuck (or Spoonerisms to that effect) that almost steals the show. But that honour goes in the end to Peter Houghton as sleazy bad guy ‘Guy’, although his ‘Mr Maid’ will resonate with any father of a teenage daughter.

Some Festival offerings can tend to have a limited appeal, but “Fugitive” is definitely not one of them.