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Monday, May 21, 2018


(Steven Stead as King Arthur. Pic by Val Adamson)

Outstanding performance from Steven Stead as King Arthur in KickstArt’s “Camelot” running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Glorious costumes, superb lighting and excellent performances all round. (Review by Caroline Smart)

An outstanding performance from Steven Stead as King Arthur in KickstArt’s Camelot which opened last night at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre makes this a “must see”. This is a role Stead has longed to do for many years and it is a glorious victory for him in that he’s finally been able to do it and he does it superbly. He moves from an impetuous, energetic young man to a monarch of dignity and principle who advocates right over might, eventually becoming the victim of his own rule.

The multi-award winning Camelot has had major success all over the world since it was first staged in 1960, starring Julie Andrews and Richard Burton. It ran on Broadway (for 873 performances) and later on the West End. The film version featured Richard Harris as Arthur, Vanessa Redgrave as Guinevere, Franco Nero as Lancelot and David Hemmings as Mordred.

For those unfamiliar with the story, which is adapted from T H White’s novel, The Once and Future King, it tells of the legendary fifth century British leader, King Arthur. As a young boy, he was sent to collect a sword. However, seeing one stuck in a rock in a public place with no apparent owner, he thinks he can save himself the trouble of a journey and “borrow” it. However, this is no ordinary sword. It’s called Excalibur and it bears the inscription that whoever is able to pull it out of the stone is a rightful King.

After three tries, Arthur pulls the sword out and the rest is history, as it were. Arthur goes on to rule the magical Kingdom of Camelot, create his Knights of the Round Table and lead Medieval Britain’s defence against Saxon invaders.

In his youth, Arthur is mentored and guided by the wizard Merlin, who gives him the name of Wart. The story of Camelot picks up on the day when Arthur’s future bride Guinevere – who he has never met – makes her arrival in the kingdom. Their original meeting is highly amusing as Arthur does not reveal his identity. He overcomes her initial determination not to get married and so their lives together begin. All is well until a handsome but self-righteous knight - Sir Lancelot du Lac – makes his appearance.

Jessica Sole is a delightful Queen Guinevere, she’s spunky, flirtatious and strong-minded but when love truly hits her, she handles this inner despair with sensitivity. Lyle Buxton gives Sir Lancelot the required strength and passion while Peter Court makes a droll Merlin before changing roles to the hilariously dotty King Pellinor. Nathan Kruger is a viciously manipulative Mordred.

There are excellent performances from the rest of the cast but a special mention is due to Jake Savage as young Tom of Warwick.

The production is splendidly designed by Greg King. Tina le Roux’s lighting design is superb and Terrence Bray’s costumes are resplendent. Congratulations to associate director Mervyn McMurtry, musical director Shelley McLean and choreographer Janine Bennewith.

The songs are all beautifully handled but Stead’s How to Handle a Woman was the highlight for me. The musical recording provided by The MT Pit L.L.C. does pure justice to Lerner and Loewe’s music, presenting a sweeping luxurious orchestral score.

Camelot runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until June 3, 2018. Tickets R255 / R215 / R185. (NB: No concession discounts). (Not suitable for children under eight years old) Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or online at

For schools’ performances, charity fundraisers or block bookings of 50 or more, contact KickstArt Theatre via email: – Caroline Smart