CAMELOT –Gorgeous Voices, Gorgeous Songs
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: Goodspeed is presenting a terrific production of Camelot through Sept. 19th.
KAREN: It has wonderful music by Frederick Loewe with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, but the book is not the greatest. It gets bogged down; there is so much it tries to tell.
BOB: Originally it was much longer.
KAREN: Its first performance was over four hours long.
BOB: One thing you will recognize is that the first act is almost interminable. If it wasn’t for the music, you would be squirming in your seats.
KAREN: The music is fabulous. Rob Ruggiero, who directed this and who has directed several things at Goodspeed, does a wonderful job. He makes a lot of use of the aisles, so you really feel surrounded by the performers. He is also blessed, three very good singing actors in the main roles.
BOB: Bradley Dean as Arthur does a terrific job
KAREN: Erin Davie has a gorgeous voice and plays Guinevere
BOB: And Maxime de Toledo is a terrific Lancelot
KAREN: He’s my favorite of the three. He brought a sense of awareness to the role. Too often Lancelot comes off as a pompous pretty boy.
BOB: You can’t understand why Guinevere is attracted him.
KAREN: They all sing very well. Again, I though Maxime de Toledo had the best voice. Just think of the songs in this show – “I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” and then there is “Camelot” – a song that has become part of our history. Then there’s “How to Handle a Woman,”– ALL of these are in the first act!
BOB: It leaves you breathless.
KAREN: The second act goes on to other terrific songs including one that isn’t on the original cast album “Toujours” which Lancelot sings. Then there’s “Before I Gaze on You Again,” “If Ever I Would Leave You,” and “I Loved You Once in Silence.” The book has been rewritten some by Lerner’ son. I have to be honest, I didn’t go back to the original book to see exactly what he did. The changes certainly aren’t major. I think the placement of one or two songs was changed.
BOB: Because of the quality of the songs and the performances, even though you do realize it is a long musical, you are sort of happy about that.
KAREN: This is a small cast, and often Camelot is done as a spectacular with a huge cast. At times, this smaller ensemble bothers me a little – there aren’t really enough ladies of the court or knights of the roundtable. But it really focuses the story on the triangle of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot.
BOB: I want to mention that Ralph Perkins did the choreography and it’s unique for this show.
KAREN: We enjoyed Camelot a lot – I have a soft spot for it and I saw the original cast in New York.
BOB: We encourage you to see it. It runs through Sept. 19. You can call the box office at Goodspeed or go on line at www.Goodspeed.org.
This review aired on WNHU –88.7 FM, www.wnhu.net from Aug. 16 to Sept. 6.