Play Off the Page reviews ‘Camelot’

Ordway 5/13/15

My sister Joy and I attended the National Tour of Camelot at the Ordway Performing Arts Center in St. Paul, MN. It is a magnificent show – lovely, heroic, and a little Renfesty. They cast it perfectly, and everyone has a tremendous singing voice (I particularly loved Mary McNulty’s as Guenevere). You feel love and sympathy for King Arthur. You see Guenevere’s internal conflict as she tries to remain loyal to her husband and king even though she loves the noble Lancelot. And, Lancelot, who enters the stage with a song about how he’s the perfect man for the job, discovers that he, too, has flaws and isn’t stronger than the passions of the heart. It’s a sad story, really, the love triangle, the egos of men, the revenge and mischief making of Mordred – Arthur’s illegitimate son, and the ultimate fall of the kingdom. But, the songs are great. The music is lovely and haunting, and at times humorous. The costumes were gorgeous. Joy and I wanted to get backstage and see and touch them in person. Some of the gowns were silky and smooth while others were velvety and soft looking. The men wore coats and the armor looked shiny, but not heavy and clunky. I think it was mock-armour. Joy said of the show, “It has so much visual texture.” What a great way to describe it! From the gowns to the set that is both hard and metallic as well as mystic by use of scrims, lighting and smoke. If most people are like me, they came for the songs that they know and love and to see how this company puts it all together. They cut at least one song from the original, and shortened a few, which is good, because it is a long musical. Thus, creating a faster pace. The actors did well in creating tension, and we left wishing to rewrite the ending. (Personally, I’d prefer seeing Arthur die a hero’s death on stage, Mordred getting his just deserts, and Lancelot and Guenevere living happily ever after, but that’s not how the story goes.)

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