Location: Buxton Opera House
Date: August 24th 2017
The Concept: From the hugely popular musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, the present company at the Buxton Opera House have done a retelling of the Arthurian legend. The romantic legend tells of Arthur when he is to wed Guinevere and truly solidify his reign on the throne. Even though the king and queen are blissfully happy and making the legend the effulgent myth it is today with the widely known knights of the round table, love starts to bloom for Guinevere against her will and better judgment with Arthur’s most loyal knight, Lancelot. This hard-to-resist romance creates a wedge of opportunity to which the sinister Mordred can bring the empire to its knees. The musical is a faithful retelling of the Arthurian myth and legend.
The Successes: The principal cast were all quite good and committed to their roles. Rachael-Louisa Bray as Guinevere seemed much like a rough cut diamond that need just a little bit more polishing but her acting and vocals were very good and when she reached for the high notes she seemed to always come out strong. The two male leads – David Partridge as Arthur and Jon Morris as Lancelot Du Lac – were strong foils for Guinevere and Morris particularly had a good French accent. Craig Arme was a strong addition to the second act as Mordred. The costumes and sets were of a great standard, and especially Guinevere’s many costume changes seem to get better and better. It is also a thorough delight to see a full stage of cast. All too often you see a sparse stage and few actors who must play many roles and attempt to make up crowd scenes in a rather abysmal way which was not the case tonight as the stage was a flutter with characters.
The Setbacks: Overall the production seemed slightly under rehearsed or clumsy. I understand this is local theatre but a little more attention to the details would have gone a long way. Additionally, the production rand for 3 hours and 10 minutes which seemed a little long, especially when some people have work the next day and this is a mid-week production.
Final Thoughts: Overall, a very good local production by the present theatre company at the Buxton Opera House with a few pleasant surprises of talent and a most entertaining experience overall.
Playing at the Buxton Opera House from August 24th – August 26th 2017