The Column Online


words by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe

Artisan Center Theater

Director: Dennis Canright
Producer: Dee Ann Blair
Music Director: Richard Gwozdz
Stage Manager: Lindsay Hardisty
Choreographer, Jennifer Leyva
Set Design: Dennis Canright & Jason Leyva, COLUMN AWARD WINNER
Light Design: Natalie Berry
Costume Design: Nita Cadenhead, Jennifer Cadenhead
Scenic Design and Painting: Lily Stapp
Light Design: Natalie Berry
Fight Choreography: Kirk Corley


King Arthur - Neil Rogers
Guenevere - Meredith Browning
Lancelot - Jole Lagrone
Merlyn/Pellinore - Derek Armstrong
Mordred - David Phillips
Sir Dinadan - Kirk Corley
Sir Lionel - Michael Alger
Sir Sagramore - Ivan Lippens
Sir Colgrevance - Michael Williams
Sir Guilliam - Zeke Branim
Sir Castor - Edward Masen
Page - Jeff Carr
Squire Dap - Adam Livingston
Tom of Warwick - Brandon Shreve
Lady Anne - Lori Jones
Lady Sybil - Cami Willis
Nimue/Lady Grace - Marina Cuellar
Morgan Le Fey/Lady Laura - Lindsay Hardisty
Lady Catherine - Meredith Stowe
Lady Natalia - Mary Kreger
Lady Jayne - Jennie Titiryn

Reviewed Performance: 1/15/2011

Reviewed by Laurie Lynn Lindemeier, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

"Some enchanted evening you may see a stranger across a crowded room" and it may very well be that you are attending CAMELOT by The Artisan Theatre in Hurst. Last Saturday evening this small theatre in the round brimmed with excitement and hardly an empty seat. The audience's anticipation of excellence hung in the air, and the cast and crew did not let them down.

As I sat on the back row of the East section, I admired the scenic backgrounds painted and designed by Lily Stapp. The face of a feminine creature on a backdrop in smoky gray and black effectively created an ambiance of enchantment.

After years of seeing the famous numbers from this musical serenaded in Italian restaurants, crooned at piano bars, and performed as recital encores, it was lovely to see the songs back where they belonged in the context of the beloved musical by Lerner and Lowe, which has been around since 1960.

The talented performers in this Arthurian legend proved to be well rounded in musical interpretation as well as acting. In the hands of an actor are the tools of gesture, inflection, posture, volume, accent, pronunciation, diction, phrasing, and pauses. Couple this with the glorious melodic phrases delivered to us by the brilliance of Lerner and Lowe, and you have an evening that feels like Mom said you could skip the main meal and eat desert for the rest of your life.
While each performer at the Artisan naturally excelled in one area or the other, it was a joy to see all those elements to a high level in every actor. This credits the director, Dennis Canright, for good double casting and bringing out the best in his actors.

Neil Rogers, as King Arthur commanded the stage well. His intense monologues blew me away. In addition, his deliverance of such lines as "Actually, there's not much going on today," showed his prowess in comedic timing, and extracted a nice laugh from the audience.

However, Derek Armstrong, as Pellinore received the most applause for hilarity. As he toted a darling beast around, a fluffy little dog, he didn't let the animal steal the show, but kept it in his own paws. Mr. Armstrong delivered his lines with a posh British accent from underneath a gigantic black mustache that made me laugh just wondering how he kept that mop glued to his face. I hope he got a good buy on spirit gum.

Meredith Browning played a lovely Guinevere with a sonorous soprano voice and noble stance. However, she lightened her mood well in the "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood." I pursed my lips and tried to whistle right along with her. Ms. Browning and the chorus also performed an enthusiastic dance in "The Lusty Month of May" which was choreographed by Jennifer Leyva.

Although there was plenty of action in this production, the quiet moments communicated with only a glance showed us the fiery forbidden love and longing developing between Guenevere and Lancelot. Joel Lagrone played Sir Lancelot with a perfect French accent and rich voice. However, the looks that passed between he and Guenevere were more potent that any romantic accent. The chemistry, oh my, you have to witness it. I can't put it into words that would spoil it for you. Just be sure to bring a date that you want to woo, and buy your tickets well in advance as this show is selling well.

Romance exuded from every inch of this performance and hung in the air like heavy incense you forgot to extinguish before you went to sleep. Yet, the sinister moments and the dastardly villains also jumped out like a black cat in the night. David Phillips strutted about as the wicked Mordred, and obviously delighted in portraying Arthur's delinquent son. Morgan Le Fay, played by Lindsay Hardisty, and Mordred's makeup and costumes were both darkly done to portray their malevolent personalities. Jennifer and Nita Cadenhead designed the costumes.

A chilling dark effect was also accomplished in Nimue's scene calling to Merlyn. Marina Cuellar, played this creature, moving her hands and arms in beautifully fluent gestures to entice Merlyn, played by Derek Armstrong. The uncanny lighting effects designed by Natalie Berry were wonderfully mysterious.

In the final scene, Brandon Shreve as Tom of Warwick proved that he did not need the fact that he is a child to steal the show. His genuine acting and fantastic stage presence were a delight to watch. Keep an eye on this young man! We will see more of him. This production closes January 29th.

CAMELOT words by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe
Through January 29, 2011
Artisan Theatre Center

Location: 420 E. Pipeline Rd, Hurst, TX. Daytime box office: 418 E. Pipeline Rd.

Box office: 817-284-1200.