BWW Reviews: CAMELOT a Dazzling Masterpiece

BWW Reviews: CAMELOT a Dazzling Masterpiece

The lyrics tell all. "In short there's simply not a more congenial spot than here in Camelot," now lodged at Fresno's Saroyan Theatre through tonight only. Originally launched into success by Julie Andrews and Richard Harris, the classic receives a new, simplified staging with an overwhelming ambiance, as well as a Renaissance acoustic makeover.

Everyone knows the story of Arthur, his round table, and, as antagonist Mordred puts it, his "triangular" relationship with wife Guenevere and knight Lancelot. When done well, the Lerner and Loewe Broadway musical draws its power from the hope and legend it professes. In the Phoenix Entertainment touring version, fantastic actors highlight a beautiful tale against a fantastical scenic design. Mike Baldassari's lighting design brilliantly mixes with Kevin Depinet's modern, yet period set pieces and Paul Tazewell's many flawless costume designs. Spotlights beam down as if made for "Wicked," while metallic pieces serve as castle walls and forest trees, and backdrops provide banners and May flowers. The overall effect is one that easily deserves to be seen on Broadway.

The touring, non-equity cast members have promising careers ahead, too. Craig Cassidy's sound design gives the small ensemble a resounding voice with perfect harmony. Mary McNulty leads the group as a striking and teasing Guenevere in "The Lusty Month of May," and Kasidy Devlin's devilishly brilliant Mordred leads the knights' lust for the old days in a creatively staged "Fie on Goodness." Although Devlin only appears in the second act, he steals the show with his boyish glee and villainous laughter. Vocally, McNulty excels in her high notes next to Tim Rogan's passionate and rich baritone Lancelot. Adam Grabau does an excellent job conveying Arthur's journey from fear of marriage in youth to conflicted and wise king in later years. Momentous, pounding drums throughout add to the tension as Arthur watches his ideals and loved ones betray him.

Director Michael McFadden brings Fresno a stunning production, moving in every way, deserving of never-ending praise. The musical plays at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Fresno, then moves on to Thousand Oaks and Santa Barbara. Visit www.cameottour.com or www.magicspace.net/fresno/ for tickets and information.

Follow Harmony Wheeler's theatre and opera adventures on Instagram and Twitter @HarmonyWheeler.




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From This Author Harmony Wheeler

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