This weekend, Camelot returned to the West End for the first time in 30 years to celebrate the centenary of Alan Jay Lerner’s birth, in London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s concert version at the London Palladium. Written by the iconic duo Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music), known for writing a variety of musicals including My Fair Lady and Gigi, Camelot is based on the King Arthur legend and features well-known songs such as ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’. The original Broadway production won 4 Tony Awards, and was adapted into a movie in 1967, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Harris. Here’s what we loved about this production:
A unique concert version
If you’ve never been to a ‘concert’ style version of a musical, I would highly recommend it! The actors used their librettos – which is understandable for a one-night-only special – and they sang the songs to perfection through their memorable characters. With minimal lighting, costumes, props, or set, it was a joy to be able to completely focus on the fantastic score and Lerner’s lyrical prowess.
The brilliant cast
The trio leading the show were simply splendid: David Thaxton gave an authentic, powerful, and moving performance as King Arthur. Savannah Stevenson played his Queen, Guenevere, whose performance could easily rival Vanessa Redgrave’s or Julie Andrews’, whilst Charles Rice’s interpretation of the perfect knight, Lancelot, was indeed perfect. The supporting cast included Clive Carter – who impressively earned a round of applause for nearly every scene he featured in – as well as the knights of the round table, who each brought their own distinct personalities to the characters. Raphael Higgins-Humes stole the show as the young Tom of Warwick at the end of Act 2, providing an uplifting sense of hope to the end of the story.
The London Musical Theatre Orchestra
The incredible London Musical Theatre Orchestra and their chorus accompanied the performers. The LMTO chorus filled the void of a supporting ensemble cast, but their voices were so strong that any one of them could have been leading the cast. The performance was an exceptional showcase for the orchestra, conducted by Freddie Tapner, which is made up of some of London’s best musicians who are all passionate about musicals. They played the soaring score beautifully, and I will definitely be keeping a close eye on everything they do in the future!