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The Legend of the Sword in the Stone

a Children's Theater
CATEGORY :
by Tim Conley & Allen O'Reilly from the book by T.H. White

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Conant Performing Arts Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 3787

SHOWING : July 20, 2010 - August 07, 2010

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Magic and mischief abound in this world premiere adaptation in the classic tale of the young King Arthur and his friendship with the wizard Merlin.


APPROPRIATE FOR AGES 4 +


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

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The Girl Who Would Be King
by Dedalus
Thursday, August 5, 2010
4.5
What is it about the King Arthur stories that command attention however and whenever they’re told? Is it as simple as the triumph of good over evil, control over chaos, right over might that most of us find so appealing? Or is it the magic, the sense that there are mystical older truths that remain stubbornly hidden from our prying eyes?

Whatever the reason, it is a fact that the Arthur story has been told and retold in so many different ways that another adaptation should be redundant. And yet, I find myself welcoming it with open arms.

For its family show for the 2010 season, Georgia Shakespeare has chosen to bring us “The Legend of the Sword in the Stone,” based on the books of T.H. White. It’s a familiar story, but adapters Tim Conley and Allen O’Reilly bring a fresh taste to it, making it go down as easily as a King Arthur tale on a hot summer morning.

Four talented young members of the Will Power Ensemble play a plethora of roles, human and not-so-human, to tell the story of Arthur, Merlin, and the training that will one day pay kingly dividends. Arthur, or I should say Wart, is played with androgynous flair by Caitlin McWethy. This simple casting choice universalizes the story in some quite unexpected ways. Yes, it’s obvious she’s a female playing a male role, but Ms, McWethy attacks the part with such energetic bravado that we fully accept her as the young king-to-be (not to mention the hawk, the ant, and the badger she becomes at Merlin’s magic hand). Casey Hoekstra brings a nicely irritating air of big-brotherness to the role of Sir Kay, and still surprises with the choice he makes at the end. Brian Harrison is a youthful and mischievous Merlin, and Anne Marie Gideon plays Sir Ector and about a dozen other critters.

It is all played on a coloring-book castle set, pleasing in its flimsiness, convincing in its “a tale from long ago and far away” atmosphere.

Georgia Shakespeare’s family series has been a hit-or-miss affair over the years. In its early stages, I complained it chose too many boy-centric stories, leaving the girls in the dust. Last year’s “Alice in Wonderland” stepped away from trend, and here, although it is a boy’s tale, it is written and directed in a manner that actually makes it gender-neutral, an adventure that should appeal to both boys and girls. My own princess could not accompany me to this show, so I can relate no “primary source” reactions, but the gaggle of short folks I was with seemed to enjoy it immensely.

And, I suspect parents who come with the kids will have a good time as well. This is a nicely written, nicely directed, very well-acted adventure tale, and, even though I know you know how it ends, that doesn’t mean there aren’t surprises along the way and lumps in the throat when the youth who would be king steps into her once and future role!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


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