Michael Morpurgo's King Arthur

Story Pocket Theatre bring Michael Morpurgo’s novel about King Arthur to life with a solid and enjoyable production. Though occasionally meandering in its storytelling, it is a good afternoon’s worth of family entertainment.

it’s always refreshing to see theatre for children that doesn’t seek to patronise its target audience

David Gant and Thomas Gilbey lead a very capable cast, with Gant playing Merlin and both playing Arthur at different stages of his life. The ensemble as a whole is very strong and talented, although there were occasional volume issues to contend with. It could also be slightly clearer when members of the ensemble are changing characters. Some changes were obvious (such as Guinevere into a masked Morgana) but other changes between the various indistinguishable Knights of the Round Table could have been lost on younger children.

The adaptation itself is fairly fluid for the most part, although it suffers from odd changes in tone between comedy and more serious story-telling. Some more mature events, such as Morgana being Arthur’s half-sister and fathering his child, are kept in the adaptation which is certainly not a bad thing, but it feels undermined by some of the silliness either side of it. Whilst comic relief can always be welcome, here it is introduced by the script in ways that can occasionally feel jarring. It would perhaps be better to maintain a more consistent tone one way or the other. Similarly, the story of Gawain and the Green Knight, whilst entertaining, feels out of step with the rest of the production and with the production coming in at 75 minutes long, it could have possibly been cut or shortened to make a tighter overall play.

But this aside, the production is very enjoyable to behold. Whilst a couple of children may have been sagging towards the end, they jumped to life when the sword-fighting began. Tight and well-choreographed, it showed the production at its best. Very impressive too was the construction of the dog puppet by Polly Beestone, with clear echoes of the other famous Morpurgo stage adaptation - War Horse. The minstrel songs accompanying the story add a welcome charm and the well-designed yet simple set, easily sliding together into the Round Table, was an excellent choice. The ensemble bounce off each very well and it’s always refreshing to see theatre for children that doesn’t seek to patronise its target audience.

Michael Morpurgo’s King Arthur is a very recommendable production for slightly older children, perhaps aged 7 and above. These children might appreciate a slightly more grown-up tone, but younger children might struggle not to fidget outside of the sword-fights.

Reviews by James Beagon

Assembly Roxy

The Battle of Frogs and Mice

Assembly Roxy


theSpace on Niddry St

Julius Caesar

Scottish Storytelling Centre

The Wonderful World of Lapin

Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck

Pleasance Courtyard

Future Perfect


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

An epic tale of magic, heroism, love and betrayal adapted from the novel Arthur: High King of Britain, by Michael Morpurgo, the author of War Horse and Private Peaceful. A drowning boy is rescued by a mysterious figure who claims to be Arthur Pendragon. As the old man tells his stories, he is transported back to the heady days of Camelot, the Round Table, Merlin, the Lady of the Lake, Excalibur, Lancelot and Guinevere. King Arthur is a fast-moving family adventure, full of physical theatre and outstanding storytelling from multi award-winning Story Pocket Theatre.

Most Popular See More

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets