20/07/2011 - 30/07/2011
Adult-Friendly Kids’ Theatre
The Outfit Theatre Company don’t just make kids’ theatre, they make family theatre: shows for the entire family. Shows which thrill children, titillate parents (indeed adults of all ages), and leave the audience in stitches. Shows like King Arthur.
Over the last two years, The Outfit has earned considerable acclaim for their school holiday productions of Treasure Island. Audiences and critics agreed that it was “a production of elegance and hilarity” and “an authentic swashbuckling adventure” which appealed to all ages.
And now that Long John Silver and his crew have retired, The Outfit has set their sights on
A top-notch professional cast of skilled actors and performers present the rags to riches story of a young man’s quest to defeat the evil villains, rescue the damsel and pull the Sword from the Stone to become King Arthur. Unfortunately, this young man is no King – at least, not yet. Instead, he’s Wart: stable-sweeper, amateur inventor and general all-round embarrassment.
When Merlin the wizard arrives in his village to recruit their bravest warriors, Wart is selected to join the quest… as an assistant. As our band of heroes battle their way through enchanted forests and overcome the most Pythonesque of obstacles, Wart finds the courage to mature from lowly stable boy to noble King.
King Arthur Created by The Outfit Ensemble
July 20th – 30th
TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland (Opposite the Zoo)
TIMES: mon & wed @ 11am / tues, thurs & fri @ 11am & 1.30pm / sat 1.30pm
TICKETS: $14 each, $45 Family Pass (Service Fee Applies)
Bookings: www.tapac.org.nz or phone (09) 8450295
Review by Nik Smythe 22nd Jul 2011
The Outfit Theatre Ensemble brings their own original take on the characters and events of Britain’s oldest and most beloved mythological epic. It’s quite a departure from the overall style one may be used to, and from a number of the characters’ archetypes and relationships, but of course reinterpretation is one of the greatest unwritten traditions in the rewriting of legends.
Given that the play only covers the very first Arthurian tale, I would’ve been inclined to call it The Sword in the Stone, as the title King Arthur essentially gives the end away. A small matter perhaps. Although it could well be the first experience of it for many of the under-ten year olds, what really matters is that it’s entertaining, which it is, verily.
Director Alison Quigan is blessed with a plucky young cast fair bursting at the seams with energy and humour. Combined with the innovative classical /modern-fusion light /sound /costume design team of Brad Gledhill, Elliot Yule and Gayle Jackson, they hit the ground running to relate the classic fable of the hapless underdog with the monumental destiny and as such we are served a veritable maelstrom of ingenious theatrical antics.
Clumsy young Arthur (Chris Tempest), initially known as ‘Wart’, is a likeable doofus, who gets no respect from his esteemed colleagues: strong, brave and ginger Galahad (Brad Johnson), fierce and sassy Guinevere (Ema Barton) and self-important goody-two-shoes Lancelot (Joel Herbert). Not to mention his pint-sized egotistical brat of a sorceress-in-training sister Morgana (Sarah Graham).
About the only chap with anything other than a derisive regard for ‘Wart’ is the greatest wizard of them all (to this day, many would say): Merlin, a knowingly authoritative and slightly camp Andrew Ford. It’s his idea to have Wart accompany the party as they quest through the Forbidden Forest to the land of comically poncey (he says his Rs as Ws), cowardly villain Lord Vortigen (Arlo McDiarmid) to whom the sovereignty of the nation defaults if the sword is not successfully drawn from the stone after a century of chaotic rule, which ends in five days!
He learns of the impending visit from Merlin’s party through the misty seeing-powers of the mad crone known as Stone Hag (Lana Walters). Utilising the loyal service of the creepy, Sith-like black-cloaked Mordred (Devlin Bishop), Vortigen plots to sabotage the Merlin-party’s crusade in various despicable ways. Despicablest of all, he cajoles his old nemesis, the tenderly desperate lady of the Lake Vivienne (Jaqui Nauman), promising in return to “fwee you fwom your pwison” of 100 years.
Vivienne meanwhile has her own motives, and her own lackey in the double-bodied being of the hilarious, cheeky, gung ho Goon (Colin Garlick and Jatinder Singh), who dutifully intercepts the travellers and issues a challenge. This naturally leads to an intensive, multi-stylistic dance-off in which the previously useless-but-lovable snotty, flatulent baby green dragon (Edward Clendon) really comes into his own…
That’s really the tip of the iceberg in a brilliantly batty almost-hour of madcap shenanigans that make King Arthur as much as a must-see family holiday treat as Outbox’s less publicised Owl and the Pussycat at Devonport’s Old Vic.
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