Wed, 02 Sept 2020
Caroline Sheen and Michael Jibson Picture: Pamela Raith Photography
Concert performance of Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot,
in The Watermill theatre gardens, Bagnor, until September 5
Review by ROBIN STRAPP
Picture: Pamela Raith Photography
THE Watermill theatre’s second summer production in their beautiful gardens is a delightfully charming concert production of Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot, nimbly directed by Paul Hart.
With the audience seated at socially distanced tables and the sun shining, there was a lively atmosphere in anticipation of this appealing performance.
The simple colourful set created the spirit of a medieval jousting tournament arena, with banners flying and the actor/musicians resplendent in modern dress sitting under the canopy. Chioma Uma is the narrator who introduces the audience to the legend of King Arthur, who wants a new order of chivalry where good prevails and disputes are settled by courts, judges and evidence rather than by the sword. An enormous change.
Michael Jibson is splendid as the pioneering king, exceedingly nervous about his forthcoming arranged marriage to Guenevere, the delightful Caroline Sheen, who has a beautiful singing voice.
Arthur sends out a call from Camelot for knights to join his Round Table and his new order. Sir Lancelot answers from France or rather from the roof of The Watermill – a lovely inventive touch – to join the knighthood.
Marc Antolin strikes an impressive pose as the suave Lancelot, who falls in love with Guenevere, giving an assured charismatic performance. However, his cavalier attitude does not go down well with the rest of the knights.
Guenevere goads Sir Lionel (Tom Sowinski), Sir Sagramore (Damien James) and Sir Dinadan (Tom Self) to fight Lancelot at a joust, in what is a hilarious scene with Lancelot astride a child’s hobby horse. Matters get worse when Arthur’s illegitimate son Mordred (Peter Dukes) returns to stir up trouble and discovers the love triangle between Guenevere, Lancelot and Arthur, whose new legal regime means Guenevere will be sentenced to death. But will Lancelot manage to rescue her?
There is strong support from Emma Jane Morton and Sioned Saunders in the ensemble band.
With glorious classic songs including How to Handle A Woman, If Ever I Would Leave You, and, of course, Camelot, all performed under the capable hands of musical director Tom Self and his talented musicians, this was a musical treat.
Marc Antolin and Caroline Sheen Picture: Pamela Raith Photography