There is a distinctly medieval feel to Ross Stephenson’s Artorigus from the start, despite its modern trappings. Literally bringing us into the time of legends, this is a story of stagnation, betrayal and love, told through antiquated language and poetry interspersed with live music.

This mixing of past and present is where the strength of Stephenson’s Artorigus lies

Turning a blind eye to the decline in the kingdom, Artorigus’ (Emma Kemp) court finds itself embroiled in scandal and treachery as Artorigus’ illegitimate son Medraut (Alicia Ellis) plots against him.

The technical aspect of the show is incredibly minimalistic, but that just focuses our attention on the action and words that are being said on stage, that is where our attention should be. The stage is bare apart from the chairs the actors use as they enter and exit the action, watching otherwise from the sidelines. It is this proximity that allows for miscommunication and assumptions to be made, whether by accident or on purpose, that drives the action forward.

There is a distinctly Shakespearean element to the show, from Stephenson's use of the iambic pentameter, to how monologues are directed towards us so that we always know more than the characters on the stage. The atmosphere is somber and tense as we slowly watch the action play out, each step incredibly measured and often amplified by the beating of a drum, humming by the cast or the low melody of a clarinet, recreating an insular and almost tribal atmosphere that is so far removed to how we would normally picture Camelot.

The subject of the show is based in folklore and tradition, and yet the plot rings true for us now. This mixing of past and present is where the strength of Stephenson’s Artorigus lies.

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Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

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The Blurb

Artorigus' Kingdom is in danger. His once tight grasp on his beloved realm is slipping through the gaps in his fingers. He is surrounded from all sides by his shadowy past. Can his loyal knights be trusted? Is his wife hiding a terrible secret? Even Artorigus' own son, Medraut plots to overthrow him. Can he keep his rule intact? Based on the legends of old and inspired by the classical lyricism of Shakespeare. This modern adaptation of King Arthur blends prose with verse to create a unique look into the themes of stagnation, idleness, betrayal and love.

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