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Thursday, 27 August 2020

REVIEW: Camelot at the Watermill Theatre

The Watermill has led the way with its short season of outdoor theatre in its delightful grounds. Following its tongue in cheek version of The Hound of the Baskerville, the artistic director, Paul Hart has directed a concert version of the 1960 musical Camelot by Lerner and Loewe with his usual trademark actor-musician casting. It is a simple but charmingly effective staging that showcases the fabulous score.

I am predisposed to enjoy the evening partly because of the warm welcome and consistently high standards the Watermill productions deliver but mainly as the show brings back strong memories of the 1982 production of Camelot with Richard Harris as Arthur and Fiona Fullerton as Guinevere at the Apollo Victoria, which remains one of my all-time favourite musical productions. Harris's powerful charismatic stage presence made up for his lack of singing voice and he rang every emotional response from his final rallying call to young Tom to carry the legend of the knights of the round table home.

Monday, 8 October 2018

REVIEW: Camelot at the London Palladium

There is a touch of nostalgia about going to the London Palladium to see a classic Lerner and Loewe musical staged in concert format which sets the right tone for the evening before the band strikes up. It is a perfect setting and the large London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) of 32 musicians brought out of the pit to fill the huge stage make this a glorious celebration of the 100th anniversary of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner's birth and of the wonderful score of Frederick Loewe. It is quite a celebration as the sound is rich and beautiful to listen to and we hear every word of the romantic and chivalrous songs.

Of course the sixties musical based on a book about the Arthurian legend called "The once and future king" can be accused of its dated misogynistic attitude to women in a male dominated society where the women are beautiful temptresses distracting the men from their noble aim. But equally it presents an inspirational view of living your life to fulfil noble goals and working together to create a safer society where "might is used for right". It's final scenes when King Arthur knights a young Tom and orders him to keep the dream alive and hand down the inspiring story to future generations remains emotional and uplifting. 
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