Camelot - 2004

May 25 – May 29, 2004
Production Team
Director: Barry Hill
Musical Director: James Pratt

In May 2004 the G&S Society as it visited the far off land of Camelot where in days of old, knights were bold and a noble king and a gallant knight fall in love with the same lady.

Arthur – Robin Schmelzkopf
Guinevere – Deborah Caddy
Lancelot – Joshua Hillary
Merlin – David Rapkin
Pellinore – Renfrey Ansell
Nimue – Alexandra Gard
Mordred – James Stevens
Morgan Le Fey – Hazel Green
Sir Dinadan – James Antonas
Sir Clarius – Andrew Crispe
Sir Lionel – Lachlan Scott
Sir Sagramore – Timothy Wilson
Lady Ann – Elizabeth MacGregor
Lady Sybil – Ali Stubberfield
Tom of Warwick – Patrick Griffiths

Adelaide Theatre Guide

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society have burst onto the scene this year with Lerner and Lowe's production - Camelot. As a lover of this musical, my expectations were high and thankfully I was not disappointed.

Ole Wiebkin's breathtaking set impress the audience from the outset, taking us back to days of knights and ladies, castles and magic.

Adding to the enchantment are the dazzling costumes (coordinated by Hazel Green) that perfectly depict every flavour within the show. From the rich and majestic gowns of Arthur and Guenevere and members of the royal court, to the knights in shining armour and mystical creatures of the forest, they add colour and brilliance to every scene.

Robin Schmelzkopf, in the pivotal role of King Arthur, is everything this legendary king should (and needs to) be. He portrays all facets of the character convincingly - confusion at women, torment at the betrayal of those close to him, and his intent to be a great king and make the world a better place - and gains the love and sympathy of the audience. Arthur's closings in both Act I and II are particularly well done.

Joshua Hillary is every bit the strong (and egotistical) Lancelot du Lac, who can't find a fault with himself and lives only to serve the king - until he ill-fatedly falls in love with his queen. Hillary has great comical delivery and timing for Lancelot's self-centred moments, but also good presence as a romantic lead. His singing voice is powerful and clear, with an underlying sweetness, making him a delight to listen to. 'C'est Moi' and 'If Ever I Would Leave You' are highlights of the show.

Between these two men is Guenevere (played by Deborah Caddy), the young lady who became queen before she could experience adventure and excitement. Fans of the legend would know that this character needs to be portrayed as strong and dedicated, but anguished as she is torn between her two loves. Luckily, Caddy gets this mix right with her enjoyable performance and lovely singing voice.

Special mentions also should go to Renfrey Ansell for providing constant laughs as King Pellinore, David Rapkin for his portrayal of Merlyn, Hazel Green as the mystical Morgan Le Fay and Lachlan Scott for his feisty performance as Sir Lionel. The only weak links in this production were the chorus members, who lacked energy and enthusiasm in their few numbers. They were generally members of the court and upper class citizens, but this shouldn't stop them from smiling or showing happiness, particularly during 'The Lusty Month of May' number.

Congratulations to Director Barry Hill and Musical Director James Pratt for delivering a show that will delight both followers of and those unfamiliar with the legend of King Arthur. Be quick to book tickets, as the season is far too short.

– Nikki Gaertner

Messenger Press

SO POWERFUL and moving is the tale of King Arthur and so vivid are its main characters that any version of the story will grip an audience.

Even Lerner and Loewe's slick and lighthearted musical version was given some depth and darkness in its 1960s stage and screen versions by great actors like the Richards Burton and Harris in the role of Arthur, or Vanessa Redgrave as Guenevere.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society here make a sensible choice to play the script for laughs as much as possible.

But in any version of the musical there has always been an audible clunk at the turning point of the plot: the moment when Lancelot, having accidentally killed another knight at a tournament, then miraculously brings him back to life.

The very gifted Joshua Hillary as Lancelot has great stage presence and makes this the most gripping moment of the story.

From there on, everything gets darker and sadder, and the jaunty Lerner lyrics sometimes jar with the sense of impending doom.

The music is almost too easy for soprano Deborah Caddy in her sweet and deceptively effortless-looking performance as Guenevere, but it is sometimes too hard for Robin Schmelzkopf, who plays King Arthur as a sort of medieval Sensitive New Age Guy.

It is Lancelot who gets the best songs in Camelot and Hillary uses his warm, flexible voice to make the most of them, his duet with Caddy the musical highlight of the evening.

Renfrey Ansell is very funny and endearing as King Pellinore, and James Stevens plays the villain Mordred for laughs in a Brylcreem coiffure and David Niven moustache.

Alexandra Gard's beautiful silvery voice is ideal for her part as Nimue, and Patrick Griffiths as the boy Tom of Warwick, the embodiment of hope for the future, is confident and charming.

The orchestra has shaky patches despite the best energetic efforts of musical director James Pratt, but the well-drilled chorus of knights and ladies gives strong support to the principals, especially in the rebellious knights' chorus that opens Act 2.

And the frocks are fabulous.

– Kerryn Goldsworthy