|Guenevere (Joanna Bauernfeind) and Lancelot (Patrick J. Stanley)|
A young King Arthur of England watches a distant carriage approaching his castle which carries Princess Guenevere, his betrothed. His mentor, Merlyn, foretells of Arthur’s greatness but has done little to prepare him for dealing with women. The apprehensive King (Alex Pinkston) takes a step forward, and the legend of the Knights of the Roundtable begins to unfold in the musical “Camelot,” now playing at the Ocala Civic Theatre.
The ancient tale of Excalliber need not be repeated here. The theme is that even the best, most righteous plan can be set asunder by passion and human emotions. Arthur’s dream of knights doing deeds of right and the roundtable where all are equal is crushed by an unfaithful wife and a best friend.
Pinkston does a reasonably good job of selling his story. His voice easily carries the opening song. Joined by Joanna Bauernfeind (Guenevere), their duet of the title song “Camelot” is on the mark.
To make this play click, however, the chemistry between Guenevere and Lancelot (Patrick J. Stanley) must be high voltage electric. Guenevere’s script lines are of no help, so the burden falls on Bauernfeind’s emotions to show a magnetism for Lancelot that would have her break her wedding vows to a king. Lancelot’s script lines are more directed, yet his stature even during the potentially show-stopping power of “If Ever I Would Leave You,” does not spark unbridled passion between them.
|Alex Pinkston as King Arthur|
Musical numbers “Simple Joys of Maidenhood”, “How to Handle a Woman”, and “What do the Simple Folk do?” are favorites well done accompanied by the magnificent nine piece orchestra conducted by Matthew Wardell in the pit.
Hats off to the cast for some believable swordsmanship choreographed by Jim McClellan.
Standouts in the secondary roles are Villager Richard L. Behrendt (Pellinore), Scott Proctor (Merlyn), and Daniel DeCola (Mordred).
Scenery is questionable. It was a choice by director Katrina Ploof , but did not challenge the design and construction capabilities of OCT. The bare stones edifice lacked sufficient greenery in the opening and May Pole scenes. The stone slabs could never be imagined as the boudoir of the Queen where her assignation with Lancelot takes place.
On the technical side, the spotlight on the audience left wall depicting the presence of Nimue was split by the wainscot strip. Also temporary black spray is needed to subdue a distracting bald spot.
“Camelot” at Ocala Civic Theatre is entertaining, but falls short of expectations. It needs some serious tweaking to reach the high standards set by OCT’s past musicals.
The show runs through June 8. For ticket availability, prices, times, dates, location click on icon on the left.
None of the principals reprised their roles in the movie.