Camelot is Magic
River City Community Players
I can't begin to tell you how amazing I thought this show was - from when I first walked into the lobby to when I left ... weeping because the end was so amazing.
Walking into the lobby - there were medieval banners hanging up and a knight statue, nice touch! I was instantly in the medieval mood.
Then when we walked into the house there were more banners and this amazing tree, I was drawn in - I was ready to see the show. I noticed many little things before the show even started, a tree-shaped candelabra with flickering candles on the stage, moss hanging from the tree, the stage was even painted - not everyone does that and it really had an impact. Even the vine that ran up the castle wall - little touches everywhere that gave me the impression the director or technical crew really cared about the show.
The gentleman who gave the curtain speech really got the crowd going - usually those things are boring, but this one was actually fun to watch. Before he finished he mentioned something about Camelot being magic ... and let me tell you, it was.
This show ended up being more than three hours with the intermission, but I can tell you that I didn't even know it - I sat through it and left wanting more. We are thinking about seeing it again before it closes, and taking friends!
The first few scenes set the theme for the whole show, great costumes, stellar first songs by King Arthur and Guenevere and of course the amazing set. Then, believe it or not - it got better.
In the scene where Nimue steals Merlyn's powers, Nimue and a few others were shadow dancers behind a curtain - a very cool effect, I wish there had been more of that throughout the show than there was.
Then the curtain went up and the castle wall opened, or turned rather, and the inside of the castle was revealed. I sat with my mouth hanging open as this set piece was turning. It was beautifully decorated, from the way the castle was painted to the smallest bit of gold paint on the furniture - care had been taken with this set. And don't even get me started on the costumes, gilded crowns and the oversized chess set.
The biggest thing that kept this show moving was that there was no stopping to change scenes or move furniture. We were not left sitting in the dark while the crew clunked around on stage moving furniture. The action was seamless, the castle closed in full light right in front of us as Lancelot entered - very clever.
Another thing that made the show enjoyable was seeing real armor on some of the knights during some portions of the show - very nice. There was even some sword fighting - I know this show and I have never see sword fighting in it before - this was really a nice bonus.
King Arthur - this man turned in an emotional, amazing performance. He was soft when he needed to be and hard when he was forced to be. The scene at the end of the show with Tom had me searching desperately for a tissue. My heart swelled in my chest when Arthur yelled his last line holding Excalibur aloft.
Guenevere - although obviously much younger than Arthur, the actress playing Guenevere had abilities well beyond her years. She had just enough cunning to make us hate her when we needed to and enough softness to remember we really loved her.
Lancelot - unlike Tom Cruise in the movie "Far and Away", the young man who played Lancelot kept his accent through the whole show - bravo! He also looked very young, but it didn't bother me ... especially when he flashed that smile. He is a perfect 'looking' Lancelot, but also he had enough depth to portray the character well.
Mordred - wow! I don't know if I can say enough about this actor. I don't know why he is on a community theater stage, but I'm so happy he is. He made me hate him, and I loved every minute with him on stage.
Other notable performances were the Nimue with her luring dance and Morgan La Fey and her court - the choreography for that scene was excellent and I loved the costumes there as well.
Choreography for the male chorus number and the May song were wonderful - nothing seemed forced, and I know how difficult it is to get community theater members to dance ... especially men.
Band - I have seen shows at this theater before and I can tell you it is so nice to have the band in the balcony now. The sound is much more evenly distributed, bravo to that idea! I can remember sitting close to a drum set for other shows and not hearing a thing!
Overall this was a wonderful show - from beginning to end I was enthralled and thoroughly entertained. The Guenevere number was my favorite, there was so much going on in that scene I didn't know where to look, it was spectacular!
The only negatives for this show would have to be the little bit of sound I heard coming from backstage and a few issues with the sound system. There were times I was ready to put my hands over my ears because I could hear a little feedback and I was afraid it was going to get really loud - luckily it never did.
Bravo Camelot - thank you for the magic!