|Camelot company. Photo: D. Hou|
Original production directed and staged by Moss Hart
Based on “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White
Directed by Gary Griffin, Music Direction by Rick Fox
Designed by Debra Hansen
Featuring Geraint Wyn Davies, Kaylee Harwood, Jonathan Winsby and Brent Carver
The story: Based on the last two books of The Once and Future King, (being taken from Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur), a nervous King Arthur awaits the arrival of Guenevere, his arranged bride. He is surprised to learn that she is as nervous as he, and their mutual uncertainty forms a bond that sees them through the creation of the chivalrous code of the Round Table and an idyllic time of great peace. Bonds of peace and love are tested, bent and finally cracked, however, under the weight of an impossible love between Guenevere and the knight Lancelot du Lac, whom Arthur loves like a brother, and Mordred, the illegitimate son of Arthur, intent on destroying the virtues embodied by the Knights of the Round Table.
Might for right, not might means right. Peacemaking, not warmaking. Quests for honour, not money or lands. Civilly hearing all sides of an issue before coming to a consensus decision. Sounds idyllic, no? Welcome to Camelot, where peace reigns - for three hours per performance. On a blue-green-gold stage designed by Debra Hansen that looks like an antiqued jewelry box or Book of Kells, King Arthur, Merlin, Guenevere and Lancelot live once more according to codes of chivalry, fairies swirl about an invisible castle in a golden forest, men can be transformed into birds - often in song and dance. Who wouldn’t like to dwell in this fairy-story for a spell?
Lucky then, are the actors who get to live in Camelot for the next several months. Lucky are the audiences who watch them bring these ancient tales back to life. Newcomer Kaylee Harwood possesses a wonderfully expressive voice which communicates Guenevere’s fear, love and feistiness, and her duet with Geraint Wyn Davies is beautifully moderated so not to overwhelm his softer vocals. Ms. Harwood’s Guenevere is not the frivolous queen of previous incarnations. Instead she is much more a stateswoman, a partner for Arthur. Directors Gary Griffin and Rick Fox made the decision to cut one Guenevere’s songs, the scheming “Follow Me”, which adds to this effect. As a result, her instant dislike of Lancelot is based less on his arrogance than her perception that Lancelot will impose on Arthur with his own ideals.
|Jonathan Winsby as Lancelot. Photo D. Hou|
|Geraint Wyn Davies as Arthur. Photo: D. Hou|
|Kaylee Harwood, Geraint Wyn Davies. Photo: D. Hou|