Review Of KickstArt’s Camelot By Chris Sutton

The folklore of King Arthur and his utopian dream of a fair and good world has been the stuff of legend for 100’s of years. Some versions of the tale focus on the concept of Knights and the Round Table, some on King Arthur’s relationship with the wizard Merlin and others portray his tempestuous relationship with his queen, Guenevere and his friend, Sir Lancelot. Kickstart’s production gives us a different, more human view of the story of Camelot.
The production, which incidentally opened on the day before Prince Harry wed the love of his life Meghan, is a gloriously sumptuous affair. The costumes, set and lighting acting, music and singing are truly magnificent. Jessica Sole makes a stunning Queen Guenevere; strong, sassy and vibrant and so achingly beautiful that the she makes the romance of her relationships with Arthur and Lancelot even more palpable.
The role of Merlin was made for Peter Court, who also plays King Pellinor. He brings some amusement to the production – raising a good few laughs, especially when referring to Guenevere as ‘Mrs Queen’. But the absolute standout is without doubt Steven Stead.
Stead is thoroughly convincing; he portrays an intelligent and sensitive rather than arrogant King Arthur, a man who did not really want to be king. He makes you want to respect Arthur for his empathic vision and makes you feel utterly gutted for him when you see him hurt by Gueneveres’s betrayal of their love bond.
Just before Merlin is trapped in a cave for eternity by the sorceress Nimue, he exhorts Arthur to ‘think’. And so Arthur does. Whilst he feels insecure without Merlin’s council, he takes heed of the magicians advice and sets about trying to bring peace and justice to England. He comes up with the idea of the Round Table where he and his knights can solve problems and disputes through discourse rather than violence. After he realizes that his utopia is threatened by his beloved Queen falling in love with his friend Lancelot, he begs for the chance to keep her heart. The closing scene is spine tingling stuff – delivered by Steven Stead, the man who is the king of the stage until 3 June.
Whilst our times are surely no more troubled that many in the past have been, the lack of moral fibre in many modern leaders makes me think that they would serve themselves and their people well by taking some lessons from King Arthur’s vision.
This quote appears in the programme and is a poignant summary of the romantic dream that is the spirit of Camelot.
“Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief, shining moment
That was known as Camelot”
This is an outstanding production from the KickstArt Team and a truly masterful performance by Steven Stead. The standing ovation was a convincing one. If you are a theatre lover this is an absolute must see production – a feast for the senses and soul.
Thanks to Illa and Sophie of Publicity Matters ( )for the tickets and the opportunity to witness such an array of talent. Durban is truly blessed to have such a prolific and professional theatre company in our City.
Kudos KickstArt – you have delivered something very special.

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