Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny is an hilarious reworking of the Sherwood Forest legend, and features CBBC star Neil Reynolds in the title role.
Neil appeared in the award-winning CBBC series The Secret Life of Boys. His other television credits include Find Your Tribe, The Adventures of T-Boy and Toonattik.
This is his first stage role. YorkMix caught up with Neil as he prepared to don his Lincoln green…
‘I am very innocent at times’
What did you know about the Robin Hood legend before being cast in the show?
Robin? 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.
How would you describe Robin in the York production?
Very aloof, very 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’. He’s mollycoddled by Little John. Everyone wants the best for Robin and Maid Marian is trying to mould him into this hero.
Is Robin like you?
I am very innocent at times. I relate to him a lot because he does walk on clouds. He’s a happy guy. He’s not really moody and neither am I.
Is there any romance between Robin and Marian?
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’.
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?
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.
Why should people come and see Robin Hood: The Arrow of Destiny?
It’s got singing, dancing, rapping. It’s got heart. It’s got companionship. Watch the show – we want to surprise you. It’s really funny as well. I’m not being biased but every day we do rehearsals 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.
What’s it like working with a company of 30 young people, aged 8 to 15, who play villagers and merry men, and operate the puppets?
It reminds you where you started and you encourage them as I was encouraged. I was 10 when I first acted in ‘a little soap on Channel 5’.Then at 11 I was in Peter Pan in pantomime. You go back to your roots because I was the same age as many of the kids in the show and when you’re young you want to go up to the main cast and ask them questions.
I remember one of the cast in Peter Pan was such a cool guy and that made me more comfortable and made me want to do more acting. When the kids are around you’ll always see me with a smile. I’ll always been happy to talk to them.