A Bright Shining Moment
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
The Lyric Stage, Boston
Through June 25th
Reviewed by Bobby Franklin
As Camelot ends King Arthur tells Tom of Warick to run from the battle so he may live and “Ask every person if he’s heard the story, and tell him strong and clear if he has not.” And that story, the legend of Camelot, is what is given to us in the Lyric Stage’s current production of the Lerner and Loewe classic.
On a beautiful multi-level set that gives the feel of a haunted forest with serpent like trees that appear to be watching the events that unfold, we are treated to a story, the story, that young Tom has passed down through the years. We, the audience, feel as if we are seated by a campfire while the tale is related to us by Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, Mordred, and the Knights and Ladies of the Court of King Arthur.
This has been called a “stripped down production”, but I would call it an enhanced work. It is no secret the original Camelot was too long. Shortening it was a challenge from the beginning, and this adaptation by David Lee finally meets that challenge. All of the songs are here, the story is complete, and it moves along seamlessly. Director Spiro Veloudos adds his magic touch to bring it all together for an evening of theatre that will not be forgotten.
The cast led by Ed Hoopman as Arthur speaks in naturalistic voices, so don’t plan on hearing imitations of Burton and Andrews. Hoopman’s voice is rich and smooth connoting the kindness and humanity of the King who wished for a society that was just and fair. Maritza Bostic as Guenevere is lovely and warm with a voice that captivates. It is hard to lose with this score, but with so many people familiar with the original cast album ears may be programmed to hear something else. What is great is how the actor’s make this their own version, and it is a great one.
Jared Troilo, who is a familiar face to Boston theatre goers, takes on the part of the brash Lancelot. Troilo’s rendition of If Ever I Would Leave You is positively wonderful. It had to be a challenge.
I have to say that Rory Boyd’s Mordred is truly amazing. His name alone cues us to expect an evil character, but Boyd manages to move him into more of a grey area. He certainly brings a great energy and just enough ambiguity to the role to make one possibly feel a bit of sympathy for him Mordred, and that is something I doubt has been seen before.
What makes this production so special is the intimacy. Not only is it warm because it is set in a small theater, but it feels the players have invited us to sit by the campfire and hear their stories. It is oh so captivating.
Accompanied by an eight piece orchestra, the cast, who work without amplification, fill the theatre with beautiful sounds. There is not a bad seat in the house, and in this age of an over reliance on electronics it is a pleasure to hear such lovely voices going directly to our ears. It is one of the many things that makes the Lyric Stage so special.
I am sure tickets for this run will sell fast, so don’t wait. Don’t let this brief shining moment pass you by.
Camelot Through June 25th
The Lyric Stage, Copley Square, Boston