Crick Crack Club Talk Review

In his personally engaging and enigmatic style, respected historian, Professor Ronald Hutton from Bristol University recently captivated the audience at the Crick Crack Club's April meeting in London with a fascinating look at the fact and fiction behind the archetypical figure of the outlaw hero, Robin Hood.

Explaining that he had decided to approach his talk on the assumption that Robin had actually been a real person, he proceeded to peel away the myths of popular culture and Hollywood scriptwriters and look closely at the various historical texts that placed likely "contenders" in a relevant time frame and a plausible location.

Along the way, his "legend-stripping" technique saw many aspects of the traditional Robin Hood tales become systematically dismissed as mythical fiction and the audience gasped as Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, King Richard the Lionheart, the Sheriff of Nottingham and even Sherwood Forest, all fell by the wayside as he concluded that, in his opinion, based on the research carried out for his various books, Robert Hood of Sherburn-in-Elmet in North Yorkshire was a strong possible source on which the exploits of England's famous hero could be founded. However, he also admitted that along with the many other "usual suspects" claiming to be the original Robin Hood historical figure, it was highly unlikely that any such claims might ever be verified beyond doubt!

After a short break and refreshments, the audience divided into small groups to discuss and consider some specific questions including: - Do we need our legendary figures to be real? : How does Robin Hood's role as a national hero relate to the national psyche? : and: Is the medieval Robin too radical for modern tastes?

Although the limited time available left little opportunity to consider in depth the questions posed, the diversity of each group's response touched on issues of social justice; fiction triumphing over fact and the public desire for "people's champions" etc. all of which reflected just how wide-ranging the influence of the Robin Hood "brand" had become in the 21st Century.

All-in-all, the informative and entertaining evening once again aptly demonstrated the status of the Crick Crack Club as England's premier promoter and programmer of performance storytelling.

Bob White, Chairman, World Wide Robin Hood Society. - 11th April 2015.