RICHARD BATSON Pavilion Theatre, Cromer


> Pavilion Theatre, Cromer

The story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table is legendary.

So is the quality of productions by the Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.

Add them together and you have a show that is stunning at times – with some powerful personal performances, superb singing and chorus numbers given added sparkle by a colourful palette of eye-catching costumes.

The Lerner and Loewe show is not brimming with endless hum-on-your-way-home songs, apart from the title tune, plus How To Handle a Woman and If Ever I Would Love You.

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It focuses on the love story between Arthur, his Queen Guenevere, and heroic newcomer knight Sir Lancelot, coupled with the king's dream of a new age of chivalry which fights for good.

The slightly oddball plot of this out-of-the-ordinary musical swings from dramatic monologues of almost Shakespearean moralising tragedy to almost Dr Who-ish moments involving green baddies emerging from trees on castors.

But while Merlin takes a bit of a back seat, the company produces enough magic of its own.

Peter Howell is mesmerising as the king, with a blend of gravitas and humour, and a singing voice only outshone by his equally excellent queen, played by real life wife Amanda.

John Drury exposes the complex mix of arrogance and chivalry that is Sir Lancelot, but the plot is also blessed with some sword-sharp shafts of wit and humour amid the two-timing, swashbuckling, and struggles over power and conscience.

Lines like “Camelot – where the table is round and the relationships are triangular”, and characters like the delightfully dotty Pellinore played brilliantly by Martin Howard, lighten a storyline which can at times be heavy going – but through no fault of a company whose show is as polished as the knights' armour.

t Camelot runs until Saturday June 4.

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