Tuesday, February 28, 2012

River City Community Players "Camelot" review by mattpursel

Camelot - Best show in a long time
Rating: 5

River City Community Players

I just saw the RCCP production of "Camelot" at the historic Hollywood Theatre in Leavenworth. This play was honestly the best over all show I have seen there in a long time.

Enter King Arthur played by Jeff Adams. I do not know this man nor have I ever met him but WOW ... this dude is a BEAST on stage. He gave such a stirring emotional performance that at times I got chills and forgot I was watching a play. Hell I even wanted to fight someone myself. I got to him after the show and he said in modesty, "I was feeling I was having an off night." To which I replied, "Well if that was an off night, I can't imagine what an amazing night would be. Most likely you would be like opening the Ark of the Covenant in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and melt all our faces." His timing and inflection were excellent and he believed in what he was saying. Hell, he made me believe it. He also had a great British accent and kept it the entire show. It was a Broadway caliber performance on a small stage from him in my opinion.

I really liked how the cast had good chemistry. Sir Lancelot, played by Coby Anderson, was a good choice. I liked how he included a passable French accent and kept in throughout the show. He was just enough of a dick to be arrogant but still passed as a lovable asshole, with morals and virtue ... who also happens to cheat on his best friend with his wife. So yea. Great guy, but kind of a D bag at the same time.

Guenevere, played by Sarah DaMetz, was also a good choice. She has an amazing voice and can hit the higher notes some find difficult. She was always on key and in tune. (Being a vocalist myself, I am hard on singers and she impressed me.) She is also pretty easy on the eyes. She looked the part and her acting was good as well. The character is just enough of a (insert word) to kind of hate but at the same time has enough redeeming qualities that you don't see her as a villain. She, Arthur, and Lancelot had GREAT chemistry on stage and it showed.

Mordred, played by Spencer Williams was every bit the A-Hole one would expect the villain from the Arthur tale to be. Man, what a little prick that guy was. Sowing dissension within the walls of Camelot and relishing in wanton destruction are this guys M.O. The actor brought to life a character we all love to hate.

Also, I have to give a shout out to Sir Sagramore played by Bill Wood. He engaged in a pretty cool fight scene and brandished his sword AND mustache with honor!

The production was well done also. They made good use of silhouetting against a backdrop for fight scenes and other things, which gave a larger than life and more of an epic feel. They made a small stage feel like an open world. No easy task on a community theatre budget. They also had fairly accurate period costumes including real armor for all knights and the king. This was a nice touch because real metal is so much better than painted cardboard. From set design to costumes, it was all rather well done in the scope of community theatre. I am kind of a jaded curmudgeon sometimes when it comes to live shows and this really impressed me. I would very much recommend going to see this production while it is still running.

Now let's get the 'bad' out of the way. One suggestion I would make is not to use the microphones so much. Only use them for people with less powerful voices. I noticed some people were way over powering or 'eating' the mics and causing them to clip. It is a small enough space that if you project you should not need a mic unless you are very soft spoken. That is just my opinion. Also I did not think Merlin was very well done. He was soft spoken and high pitched and used almost no emotion. It kind of took me out of the story. Merlin was not a main character but he IS important because he is at the beginning of the play. Establishing characters set the tone of what you think the duration will be. Thankfully, the rest of the cast picked up any slack this may have caused.


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