STAGE REVIEW : ‘Sherwood’: Too Long in Woods

Three-and-half hours is a long time to spend “In Sherwood,” no matter how exciting the derring-do of Robin and his Merry Men. In Joe Patrick Ward’s new musical version at the Granada Theatre, the Robin Hood legend is sitting on so many theatrical fences that a fall from any of them would be welcome.

After cutting 90 minutes out of his show, Ward will have to decide whether to be period--when he’s stilted and pretentious--or modern--when he’s funny but derivative. His score is tuneful, but also derivative; there are a couple of exceptions (such as the funny “Keep It on the Righteous Path,” performed as true vaudeville shtick by Harry Meyers’ Friar Tuck), but they’re few.

Good voices are in evidence, particularly Roger McDonald’s strong, vibrant treatment of Robin’s stalwart melodies, Steven J. Stewart’s charming and clean-cut tone as the beleaguered Allan A’Dale, and Judi Stewart’s nice musical comedy style as Marian.

The cast struggles to spark a show that never rises above the ordinary and seems to enjoy being where it is. Ward’s work shows promise but lacks adventure.