- Dates: 17th – 21st February 2004
- Venue: Gala Theatre
- Director: Fred Wharton
- Musical Director: George Hetherington
- Choreographer: Janet Dixon
A nervous King Arthur tries to cajole Merlyn, his teacher, to tell him about Guenevere the future Queen. Merlyn knows the future, as he lives from the future into the present. He grows younger instead of aging. Upon her arrival Guenevere dodges the awaiting crowds and hides as she sings – The Simple Joys of Maidenhood. Arthur and Guenevere accidentally meet in the forest and are delighted to find they are charmed with each other. The wonderfully placid Camelot, where royal decree sets the tone, becomes the set for a story of love and chivalry.
The trusty Merlyn is lured away from Arthur by a spirit and Arthur is on his own. Five years pass and Arthur tries to follow the course of wisdom set for him by Merlyn. He creates a new philosophy, one that says might should be the weapon of right. He creates the Round Table, a new concept of chivalry whose advocates will be charged with improving rather than destroying, with redressing past wrongs and aiding the oppressed. The table at which these knights will meet will be round so that no one man can take precedence by sitting at the head.
The word of this Round Table spreads to France where Lancelot heeds its call and arrives in Camelot. In – C’est Moi Lancelot proclaims that he is the most extraordinary mortal, the perfect and invincible knight. He has dedicated his life to the quest for perfection in body and spirit. The queen and her party are engaged in a May day outing when Lancelot arrives. Everyone finds him pompous and disagreeable except Arthur.
Pellinore, a comic old knight in rusty armor, delays his perpetual search for a rare beast, to stop with his old friend Arthur upon Guenevere’s invitation. Lancelot is challenged by Sir Dinadan, Sir Sagramore and Sir Lionel the three strongest knights. In – The Jousts he defeats all three, and even miraculously brings Sir Lionel back to life after killing him. Lancelot finds that he has fallen in love with Guenevere and sings – If Ever I Would Leave You to illustrate the strong hold Guenevere’s love has on him.
Mordred, the evil son of Arthur, arrives and tries to dishonor the King. He mocks Arthur’s high ideals and tries to foster Guenevere’s love for Lancelot. Arthur becomes despondent and Guenevere tries to cheer him with the lovely number – What Do Simple Folks Do. The knights begin to grow restless for the battles of old when Arthur’s leadership wanes. Mordred has Guenevere arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake for her love of Lancelot. The number – Guenevere telescopes this action in a Camelotian form of Greek chorus, as she escapes to France with Lancelot. Arthur declares war on Lancelot, but just before the fighting begins forgives them both. He is sad and disillusioned, his dream of love is destroyed, and that of chivalry ruined.
Tom, a boy about 14, appears and wants to join the Round Table. Arthur knights him, and sends him to tell the world of Camelot’s quest for right and honor and justice. Additional memorable numbers include – Camelot, Lusty Month of May, How to Handle a Woman and I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight.
Northern Noda News – August 2004
An open stage with Excalibur rising from the stone set the scene for this excellent production.
Seldom does a company so capture the mood, magic, and mystery of a piece, drawing the audience into the story.
Anthony Smith was cast in the demanding role of King Arthur, successfully bringing out the various moods of the character, especially the tender moments, as in ‘How To Handle a Woman”.
Delia McNally was Queen Guenevere, torn between her love for Lancelot and her duty as a wife to the King. She sang beautifully, and looked every inch a Queen in her many beautiful costumes.
Clark Adamson, the arrogant Lancelot, captured the audience with a brilliant “C’est Moi!”.
This group is fortunate in having experienced members to play supporting roles, such as Valenda Taylor (Morgan le Fey), David Bruce (Mordred) Alan Ball (Merlin), and especially Olly Burton, a wonderful Pellinore.
Mention must also be made of the “Follow Me” number, beautifully sung by June Lavin, and danced perfectly by Anouska Drion. This evening was a spectacular success, enjoyed by everyone in the audience.