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Pelleas/ The Lady of Shalott review at Blue Elephant Theatre Camberwell

In its fourth and fifth productions respectively, Revolving Doors Theatre has chosen to take two legends of King Arthur and bring them to life on stage.

The first offering in this double bill is Pelleas, which tells of a young knight, played by Jamie Debbage, and his efforts to win the love of Ettarre, played capably by Caroline Partridge.

Told in verse, the story takes as its inspiration Tennyson’s poem Pelleas and Ettarre and Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Sadly, the quality of these poems is not matched in Louise Harley’s production. At just over an hour long, the show feels longer and Debbage is awkward on stage, allowing his hands to do most of the work. There is also some embarrassing dancing which, from the looks on their faces, made the actors look just as uncomfortable as the audience. However, there are some witty lines in the production which raise a smile or too, and Martina Clarke brings a welcome energy to the stage as the maid. But the show is clumsily staged and looks more like an A level students’ production rather than a professional company’s.

The Lady of Shalott on the other hand offers an interesting staging of Tennyson’s poem of the same name. The 45-minute production by Aaron Paterson has four excellent performers, Elizabeth Boag, Bodelle de Ronde, Anne Rabbitt and Heather Saunders. They present the poem through interesting vocals and movement, often creating engaging and ghost-like visuals with simple use of torches or wooden frames that they carry around and peer through.

The piece shows imagination and creativity and highlights what can be achieved with very little set and powerful use of the voice.

Production Information

Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell, November 20-December 8

Authors/directors
Louise Harley, Aaron Paterson
Producer
Revolving Doors Theatre
Cast includes
Martina Clarke, Jamie Debbage, Caroline Partridge, Elizabeth Boag, Bodelle de Ronde, Anne Rabbitt, Heather Saunders.
Running time
2hrs 15mins

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