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July 22, 2013

EXAMINER - COURIER * THE ART OF NEGOTIATION/CAMELOT




Lancelot (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), King Arthur (Johnny Moreno
 and Guenveere (Monique Hafen ) at Knighting Ceremony
Photo by: Jessica Palopoli

 EXAMINER - COURIER









 CAMELOT...TERRIFIC...WITH HONEST DIALOGUE AND EASY HUMOR

At the San Francisco Playhouse is the glory days of Kings and Queens and wanna-bee's. 'Tis a tale rich in ironies. There is the peaceful lawful Arthur (the best and brightest King) - but, his Crown begins to slip a little, when he finds out that his Queen is playing around with Lancelot. What's a King to do? Can they bring King Arthur to his knees? Queen Guenevere - gets all hot and bothered as the handsome Lancelot crawls into bed with the Queen. Oh my...will they put Guenevere in the prison? 

Actually -- it seems that the ravishing Guenevere is the one who lures Lancelot to the bed. That's what Queens do. However...the lovers have been found out from King Arthurs Knights that Lancelot has had sex with the Queen. 

The Costumes are spectacular and breathtaking. The actors work very hard for this show. Sure, there are a few flaws here and there -- but what musical doesn't. Even when Camelot first showed up on Broadway, everyone complained about the show. But, guess what? ...the audience loved it. 

It's hard to feel sympathetic for Guenevere. After all...there is gossip around the 'Round Table'. Everyone knows what is going on. Arthur knows all about the whispers of 'poison in the court'.  

But there is more to the story. It is all about the grand and glorious songs: Music by Frederick Loewe, Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Without them -- there would be no Camelot. 

"I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?" Well, we know don't we? I think that (Guenevere) is hiding behind a tree. They are sneaking around in the forest...that's what they are doing. Yes, it didn't take long before they become husband and wife. 

Lancelot in the background --sings: "If Ever I would Leave you" -- and he didn't. It's all love at first sight until the Awful Mordred bursts into Guenevere's bedroom. As you know -- Mordred is really dreaded. 

The musical is a bit muddled in the execution -- but other elements of the musical play is rich in the musical presentations. 

This is a touch more outrageous than other "Camelot's) -- there is some very graphical scenes that might make you winch. But the scenes are extremely exotic. And yes, I did blush. I'm so tender. 

The sets are glorious. You actually see a real castle on the stage. And it also twirls right in front of your eyes. You will be dazzled! Of course, I dazzle easily. Oh, and by the way...Lancelot sings..."C'est Moi"...he's "In Love with His Self". 

The World of Witchcraft is where Merlin makes Magic -- and you'll get a kick out of that!  

NOW PLAYING AT THE SAN FRANCISCO PLAYHOUSE THEATRE ON POST STREET -- STEPS AWAY FROM UNION SQUARE

HERE IS THE CAST THAT BRING REAL PATHOS AND POWER TO THEIR PORTRAYALS: Ken Brill, Charles Dean, Michelle Drexler, John Paul Gonzalez, Rudy Guerrero, Monique Hafen, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Calum John, Steward Kramar, Johnny Moreno, Robert Moreno, Eli Clarke Nichols (young Mordred), Paris Hunter Paul (adult Mordred), Simone Olsen-Varela, George P. Scott, Steven Shear and Adrienne Walters.

FANTASTIC DIRECTION BY: BILL ENGLISH.

THE TALENTED MUSICAL DIRECTOR - DAVE DOBRUSKY - ALWAYS AMAZES.

FANTASTIC SET DESIGN BY: NINA BALL     

Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) -trademarked- 

(((Lee Hartgrave has produced many articles for the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) 

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