REVIEW: Camelot, Walmsley Church AODS

CAMELOT
Walmsley Church AODS
Parish Hall Theatre, Egerton
Runs until Saturday

Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical, Camelot, is not done very often and, after seeing Walmsley AODS version of the show, I found myself wondering why?

A fantastic score, great costume plot, factual storyline and the added bit of magic — all presented to a high standard under the skilful direction of Nora Howcroft.

In my humble opinion successful shows are based on strong leads, and this is just what we had, a strong principal line up supported by a well drilled ensemble.

Steve Benson as King Arthur is outstanding. Steve never disappoints and this performance was no exception. Vocally strong and well balanced characterisation, a great performance.

Lindsay Farnworth is delightful as Queen Guenevere. She sings faultlessly through the score and her subtle acting ability makes for a believable performance, beautifully portrayed.

John Preston turns in a strong performance as Sir Lancelot. He has some cracking songs to sing and belted them out to their full potential — If Ever I would Leave You was beautifully sung.

Comedy is provided by Mike Donohue as King Pellinore. A good character part played just right with energy.

Adrienne Wormald gave us an enchanting Morgan Le Fey whilst Meredith Collinsons’ portrayal of Mordred was sinister with the right amount of wickedness. Alan Hitchen gave a nice performance as Merlin, with flouncy cape to boot.

Musical director Mike Pinder creates some excellent vocal harmonies from both principals and ensemble. Fie on Goodness was particularly pleasing to hear, as was confirmed by the sustained audience applause. The orchestra also deserve a mention; they played through the score effortlessly.

Camelot calls for a detailed and authentic costume plot. Wardrobe team Mary Pyecroft and Julie Kirby have pulled out all the stops to ensure no stone was left unturned and provided us with elegant costumes of the period.

I thought the Maypole dance, choreographed by Lara Crombie was well executed. The ribbons plaited without getting tangled! A nice opening to the scene.

This was an all-round good production with attention to detail evident in every department.

If you want to relive the legends of the Knights of the Round Table, there is no need to travel to Tintagel in Cornwall, nor do you need to get the bus to Wigan to look for it — just nip up to Walmsley Parish Hall Theatre in Egerton and be transported back to the 5th Century — you won’t be disappointed.

PAUL COHEN 

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