Sometimes in this show, there’d come some songs like this. They’d start off nice and low but were often hit and miss. Spamalot reference quota now fulfilled, King Arthur is a fairly enjoyable afternoon adventure, if occasionally unremarkable. It does not reach the levels of truly genius children’s shows that equally entertain both parents and children, but its young target audience were well catered for.
The story, while suitable, is nothing particularly out of the box and a fair few of the ‘parent jokes’ are little too forced.
The show largely focuses on Guinevere’s attempts to pretend to be a male knight, having been excluded from the tournament by Arthur and his knights. Morgana, irritated at a lack of an invite to said tournament, sulks and threatens an army of doom upon the kingdom. Arthur and his knights Lancelot and Galahad, with Guinevere pretending to be Gawain, ride out to face this evil. Rounding out the show, we have Jack, Arthur’s enthusiastic and put-upon squire and a particularly dotty Merlin, not least for his surprisingly beardy Lady of the Lake alter ego.
With a decent amount of audience participation, the children in the audience seemed thoroughly enthralled. From happily waving the magical lake around at the correct time to eagerly assisting a hapless Lancelot with his ‘questions three’, the show had clearly hit the mark with them and they were thoroughly entertained. The show does not really break any new ground however. The story, while suitable, is nothing particularly out of the box and a fair few of the ‘parent jokes’ are little too forced, although this reviewer appreciated Merlin’s attempt to do magic with the powerful words ‘Caecilius est in horto’.
The musical elements also interfered with the production. Perhaps it was an off-day, but the quality of singing seemed to vary between members of the cast. The songs themselves were not nearly as engaging as the other parts of the script, instead serving mostly to provide time for the occasional costume change.
Still, King Arthur is a definite recommendation for those with younger children, particularly those fond of the concept and enthusiastic for participation. Older viewers can also appreciate an uncomplicated performance before lunchtime.