Hooray! It’s Autumn and the Spiegeltent is back in Guildford. This year Guildford Shakespeare Company are performing The Legend of King Arthur and Caroline Devlin has written a new play that is faithful to the old texts but with masses of added fun. Caroline has skirted over the romantic tales to create a story full of battles, witchcraft and a fair amount of poo!
Tonight’s adventure begins on the night of Arthur’s birth. His father gambles away the lives of his two new babies and the wizard Merlin has to save the children leaving the girl with her Grandmother and hiding Arthur with an obscure country nobleman Sir Ector. Sixteen years later Arthur is serving as squire to Sir Ector’s son Kay. Sir Kay has entered a tournament but loses his sword in a local tavern and calls on Arthur to bring him a replacement.
The five Actors are highly skilled at swapping between characters, each of them plays at least four parts. Alexander Varey makes an impressive GSC debut as both Uther and Arthur Pendragon and Noel White is very amusing as a womanising Merlin but the star of the show has to be Simon Nock who is delightfully disgusting as the gong farmer, Fen. An extra treat is the voice of Brian Blessed as the Divine Unseen.
Guildford Shakespeare Company always make sure that children feel fully involved in these productions, they are all handed flags to wave on tournament day. The children there today loved the fighting and all the revolting things Fen told them about. One little girl was literally open-mouthed with wonder! This is a brilliant first introduction to theatre – there is always just the right mix of excitement, disgust and good storytelling.
Review by Sally Knipe
From humble beginnings as a knight’s squire, who pulls the sword from the stone, to his destiny as King of the Britons, join us for the famous story of the ‘once and future king’ Arthur Pendragon. However, as Arthur gathers his Knights of the Round Table, a terrible threat surfaces in the shape of the White Dragon, unleashed by an unexpected adversary.
This brand new stage play, written especially for GSC, will have all the well-known parts of the Arthur story including Camelot, Excalibur, the Lady in the Lake and of course the all-powerful wizard Merlin, guiding Arthur towards his destiny.
Emma Fenney – Mordred / Lady of the Lake
Simon Nock – Fen / Lancelot
Emily Tucker – Morgana / Percival
Alexander Varey – King Arthur / Uther
Noel White – Merlin
Caroline Devlin – Writer / Director
Anett Black – Costume Design Co-ordinator
Matt Eaton – Sound Designer
Mark Dymock – Lighting Designer
Philip d’Orleans – Fight Director
Anthony Owens – Illusion Consultant
Laura Weston – Choreographer
Chris Wilson – Production Manager
Eleanor Richards – ASM
Matt Pinches – Producers
Beth Sweeney – Company Stage Manager
Eli Murton – Front of House Manager
Ant Stones – Head of Education
Fran McInally – Education Officer
Saffron Waller – Company Administrator
The Legend of King Arthur
13th October – 5th November 2017
Written and Directed by Caroline Devlin
Lighting by Mark Dymock | Sound by Matt Eaton
Costume Design Co-ordinator Anett Black