England has fallen into disarray since loosing it’s king and the people fight between themselves to decide who should take the throne. Meanwhile a great wizard called Merlin has cast a sword into a stone, making it clear that whoever can pull the sword from the stone will be king of Britain.
Brentwood theatre have always been the king of alternative Christmas shows. While The Queen’s Theatre and Southend have the big Christmas Pantos, Brentwood push a show aimed at children, without all the panto clichés
At the beginning of the show it was made clear to us that when Merlin told us to do something, we MUST do it, even the adults. This brought a great joy to the night, with Merlin leading us to do various activities including clapping our hands, stamping our feet and roaring like a dragon.
Playing both Lancelot and Arthur’s step brother Kai is Tucker McDougall who graduated from East 15 in 2016 in Acting and Stage Combat and his experience certainly can be seen during fighting scenes. Tucker’s experience had obviously rubbed off on the other actors and both Richard Lessen (Arthur) and Francesca Burgoyne (Young Arthur) are seen displaying sword fighting skills.
The cast are remarkable, with 5 actors playing the whole cast. Griffin Misson does a great job of guiding us through the night, often freezing scenes by banging his staff on the ground and narrating the whole night. Francesca Burgoyne is brilliant as the young King Arthur, playing a very convincing teenager and both her and Griffin do a great job to of playing both a fish and bird.
The first and second acts are very different. Where the first act is Merlin helping Arthur growing from a boy into a man through transformation into fish and birds, the second act is about the perseverance of Arthur and his Knights through daily temptations. Although my 6 year old daughter did understand the first act, a lot of the subjects in the second act were alien to her and she found it harder to follow.
The night was a lot of fun and the story of King Arthur and his kingdom is heart wrenching. All of this made it even sader that my daughter didn’t understand the second half of the show, had she been a little older she may have loved it as much as I did, but overall she liked it and said she would give it 15 out of 20.