“Sherwood” sounds like “sure would.” That’s the basis of several thousand jokes in Desert Star Playhouse’s “Robin Hood: Boooooooos and Arrows,” and the surprising thing is, they’re all really funny.
The show, the latest hit in a string of solid productions at Desert Star, is the typical musical-melodrama-parody, and a swift-moving one, too. Every scene crackles with comic energy, never dragging, and even the songs — often a weak link — are good. (Robin Hood and Maid Marion’s duet, to the tune of “Summer Love” from “Grease,” is particularly good: “She’s so cool, she really rocks/In a cartoon, he’d be a fox.” You have to remember Disney’s animated “Robin Hood” film, but once you do, oh man.)
The scaled-back story (Robin doesn’t even do any robbing from the rich or giving to the poor while he’s onstage) is that the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Jack Drayton) is in cahoots with the also-evil Sheik Hugh Boote (Randy Tayler), whose name sounds like “shake your bootie” if you say it wrong, to overthrow King Richard.
It’s up to Robin Hood (Scott Holman, also director) to save the day, and to win the love of Maid Marion (Mary Parker Williams), with whom the Sheik is also smitten. Along for the ride is Little John (Ben Millet), who falls for Marion’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Clydesdale (Leslie Richards). There’s also the Sheriff’s bumbling henchman, Sir Guy (Jonathon Phipps, whom we like more and more every time we see him in a show here).
The negative points about this show are small, but worth mentioning. Lady Clydesdale is a fine character, but her Brooklyn accent seems to have been added primarily for the sake of annoyance, which it achieves. And Tayler is fantastically funny as the Sheik, what with his macho talk and girlish squeal, but his Arab accent often gets in the way of understanding him. For that matter, the English accents sometimes get a bit intrusive, too. Oh, and the post-show Olio is not nearly as fun as we’ve come to expect.
The rest of the show, though, is one entertaining bit of zaniness after another. The first evidence of the Sheriff’s evil, for example, is when we see him slapping an old lady around for not paying her taxes. (I’m sorry, but beating up an old lady = funny. I don’t make up the laws of comedy, I just recite them.) There’s also a great bit where Lady Clydesdale makes hand puppets in the shadow of Marion’s serious-song spotlight, and a wedding scene featuring three people dressed as brides, only one of which is actually a woman. (Men dressing as women also = funny.)
In fact, Desert Star Playhouse = funny. There, I’ve said it. Now they can quote me in their promotional materials.
Our old pal Randy Tayler, formerly of the Garrens (several times; he keeps quitting and coming back), appeared in this show. We tried to distract him, but he refused to look in our direction while he was onstage.