Me & Robin Hood

Shôn Dale-Jones in collaboration with Hamish Pirie

Hoipolloi & Royal Court

The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth

From 26 September 2017 to 07 October 2017

Review by Karen Bussell

It’s all about the money for Shôn Dale-Jones in his latest one-man show Me & Robin Hood.

Better known to audiences as Hugh Hughes, Welsh raconteur and Hoipolloi founder and artistic director, Dale-Jones is really putting his money where his mouth is. Slashing ticket prices to bring in just enough to cover costs, his hope is that the audience will make generous donations to support Street Child United so touching the lives of some 150 million children surviving on the world’s streets.

Dale-Jones is no stranger to Robin Hood. His childhood hero was with him every step of the way from charity shop discoveries through leading his band of merry men (the entire U11 football team) in a daring bank robbery to adulthood challenging the meaning of money and distribution of wealth… and subsequent magistrates court appearance.

Following a fiscal epiphany on a jam-packed train, Dale-Jones realises that bits of paper and lumps of metal are the ultimate global dictator and that cash machines have a soft spot ripe for excavation with a pneumatic drill. Urging united bank robbing, refusing a caution to press home his message in court and subsequent counselling blend with joyous woodland escapades with hessian sacks of leaves and sticks, disgrace and cup final triumphs.

Melding fact and fiction, weaving tales within tales, Dale-Jones morphs into his Thatcher-voting Goliath of a father playing cards with the Sheriff of Nottingham out of hours in the local bank; his feisty socialist gran, and talent-sharing and forgiving best friend Dylan as the '70s are relived until we are there too—sitting in the middle of the dark, in the middle of the bank, in the middle of the night... and in the middle of a puddle.

And there’s a bit of family feuding, thoughts on bullying and privilege, aspirations and marital dissent thrown into the mix to the very edge of overload as he fast-forwards and backwards to the now, the then and the might-have-been.

Engaging and mesmerising as ever, we also see a disturbingly different side to our loveable storyteller with an explosive and believable anger-fuelled rant at the outrage of financial inequality. But I bet everyone dug deep for the collection buckets at the end.

Entertaining and thought-provoking.