- The Stage - https://www.thestage.co.uk -

Michael Morpurgo’s King Arthur review at Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh – ‘enthralling’

King Arthur at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh. Photo: Matthew Kaltenborn

Pursuing presentation of traditional stories with darker themes as children’s drama, Story Pocket Theatre’s production of Michael Morpurgo’s versions of the Arthurian legends – Arthur, High King of Britain and The Sleeping Sword – is finely crafted and totally enthralling.

When a young man finds himself crowned King Arthur, he embarks on legendary adventures with Lancelot, Gwain and other heroes, experiencing betrayal by Guinevere and secret offspring Mordred, while often challenged by Merlin’s brooding presence and the mysterious Lady of the Lake.

Compelling physical theatre bulks large as authentically garbed knights engage in realistic sword-play and pole-duels across large stones, while George Jennings’ poetic songs offer peaceful contrast.

Nigel Munson is a powerfully effective Green Knight and Mordred, while Otis Waby is a turbulent Lancelot and Mackenzie Scott a dedicated Gwain. Sarine Sofair brings elegant grace to Guinevere and Lady of the Lake, and Thomas Gilbey is zestful as young Arthur. David Gant excels as Merlin and Storyteller, endowing Morpurgo’s magically rich language with quasi-Shakespearean feeling.

Gwain and the Green Knight is very impressively worked and the drama portrays heroism, betrayal, feasting and violence perfectly for over-sevens (younger ones present are captivated, too). Story Pocket gives a masterclass in serious theatre for older children.

Verdict
Enthralling, high-quality adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's King Arthur for older children

Production

Production
Michael Morpurgo's King Arthur
Venue
Gilded Balloon
City
Edinburgh
Starts
August 3, 2016
Ends
August 29, then touring until October 6, 2016
Press night
August 3, 2016
Authors
Michael Morpurgo
Adaptation
Adam Fletcher-Forde
Composer
George Jennings
Director
Julia Black, Adam Fletcher-Forde
Choreographer
Vicky Jukes
Set
Emma Kesterton
Lighting
David Doyle
Costume
Francine Huin-Wah
Technical
Bower Wood (set construction), Polly Beestone (puppets), Vicky Jukes, Tom Callaghan (company stage managers)
Cast includes
David Gant, Thomas Gilbey, Nigel Munson, Luke Pitman, Mackenzie Scott, Sarine Sofair, Otis Waby
Producer
Alison Beattie, Story Pocket Theatre
Running time
1hr 15mins