Pros: A thoughtful show full of pathos; a truly unique experience for an audience member.
Cons: The show forces you to address your response to privilege and how you use it (if you have it) for the greater good. This is quite uncomfortable… but you could also put this as a pro depending on your willingness to self reflect.
Shôn Dale-Jones’ one-man-show Me & Robin Hood acts as an active response to the realities of poverty in the modern Western world, exploring the line between rich and poor, and the attitudes and assumptions of people as a consequence. The show is a loose, malleable thing. Sort of exhausting, but rooted in humanity: an anecdotal look into Dale-Jones’ own personal history of privilege. He utilises this not only to do some good – all profits of the show go to the charity Street Child – but also to manipulate the self-indulgent entitlement of being a single performer in command of a stage and an audience.
Opening night is never easy, especially when you’re onstage solo. Dale-Jones masters the art of utilising awkward technical moments with style and hilarity. It isn’t the kind of show where anything too spontaneous can ruin it, Dale-Jones is a comedian through and through, and every audience interaction is grabbed with both hands to ease an audience into his presence.
The show is simple in premise, jumping between Dale-Jones’ early life and the present, interwoven with the tale of Robin Hood, used as a motif of brave generosity. The model for the show is deceptively simple; the ease and openness with which Dale-Jones delivers his anecdotes develops an effortless trust between he and the audience. The cleverness of the production comes in that you eventually realise that this trust is being abused throughout; by the final few minutes you’re not sure what is truth or fiction.
The theme of the show is privilege; a view into the life of the performer through the lens of entitlement, whether the milestones crossed are true or false. Pathos and showmanship is milked to within an inch of its life. The narrative requires an incredible amount of internal audience participation. You’re battling with the disingenuity of your new best friend whilst simultaneously trying to suss out why he’s doing this to you. But it doesn’t really matter why, as the outcome is the same: an audience compelled to reach into their pockets and leave money in the bucket at the door on the way out.
Me & Robin Hood is an enjoyable and intellectually engaging show, and a mightily successful way of raising money for a charity. The unique aspect of the production, which I have never experienced before in theatre, is it’s ability to rob an audience member of the feeling that they are solely an inconsequential audience member. To sit watching Shôn Dale-Jones is to leave passivity at the door, and hopefully also a few quid to go towards a wonderful charitable cause.
Author and Performer: Shôn Dale-Jones
In collaboration with: Hamish Pirie
Produced by: Royal Court and Hoipolloi
Booking until: Saturday 16th September
Box Office: 020 7565 5000
Booking Website: www.royalcourttheatre.com/