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September 15, 1981 - Image 6

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-09-15

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7

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Tuesday, September 15, 1981

Page. 6

The Michigan.DaI

The horses are clean in Camelot

F

RA DAY.

- I___________
ANN ARBOR GOLD AND SILVER EXCHANGE
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Dance
Theatre
Studio
711 N. University
(near State St,)
Ann Arbor
separate classes for:
children: ballet, creative movement
adults: ballet, modern jazz
new classes
beginning September 14
for durrent class schedule
and more
information: 995-4242

By PAMELA KRAMER
The current production of Camelot,
playing at the Masonic Temple in
Detroit through Sept. 27, has everything
it takes for a truly great fairy
tale-almost. It has dashing knights
and lovely maidens colorfully attired in.
rich costumes and dancing about the
lavish sets of Camelot and its surroun-
ding mystical forest.
It has an enchanter to guide the
kingdom through turbulent time. It'
even has a beautiful queen] torn by
lave, who sings as Guenevere of
Camelot ought to.
THE VIEW OF Arthur's reign
provided by the Lerner and Loewe
musical is quite a contrast to that in the
recent John Boorman film, Ex-
calibur. Boorman's vision was mired in
mud and gore and crammed with
storyline.
Camelot neatly streamlines the Ar-
thurian legend down to a standard
Broadway romance-gone are the filth
and brutality; the horses just don't
shit. The result is a magical fairy tale of
love laced with heartbreak, vengeance,
and a hopeful vision for the future.
Romantic dreams, rather than lives,
are what's at stake here-and that's
what makes it such an appealing story.
The problem is King Arthur's
singing-undeniably an important
feature of the musical-which is un-
speakably bad. This is not to say that
Richard Harris' Arthur is a complete
failure. At the beginning of the story he
is a young king, scared to death of
meeting his bride-to-be. He bounds about
the stage like a frisky little puppy, im-
ploring Merlin to give him advice on the
matters of love and kingship.
HE IS A king who wishes he could
hold any position in the world other
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than the one he holds. And his boyish at-
titude is fine, except for the fact that
when he sings-which he does of-
ten-his voice holds anything but a
youthful zest or strength.
Harris is not only incapable of
holding notes, he is incapable of hitting
most of them. This becomes more ac-
ceptable as Arthur moves from what
should be youthful hope to weary pain
as his round table splinters and collap-
ses. But the young Arthur needs to be
portrayed as a young Arthur.
Even Richard Burton, who was Ar-
thur for the first part of tthis produc-
tion's tour last' year, could accomplish
that. And god knows, Burton can't sing.
But he has a certain magic, and a
speaking voice that can carry him
through virtually any role with more
force than Harris will ever have.
Aside from his inability to sing,
Harris' Arthur is really quite a
"kingly" king. In fact, he is at his best
when he is being either stern or (at
times) woeful over the love between his
best friendind his wife.
THE OTHER MAJOR characters are
nearly always at their best. Guenevere
(Meg Bussert) is, first, a petulant
maiden who grieves that she has had no
wars fought over her. She grows nobly
into position as queen, replete with
grace and dignity. And this production
is kind to Guenevere, by omitting a
song (performed in the original run on
Broadway) in which she ruthlessly and
delightedly plots Lancelot's death.
Yet Lancelot du Lac (Richard
Muenz) who, by all rights, should be the
most dignified and honorable charac-
ter-he is,' after all, perfect-lightens
the story up considerably with his lack
of humility. Muenz pokes fun at the
flawless creature he portrays. Singing
of his endless virtue and skill, he gazes
admiringly at his own reflection in the
flat of his sword; just moments later he
falls prostrate before Arthur, whom he
has unknowingly wounded.
"Forgive me, not because I deserve
it, but because if you forgive me-I'll
feel sooo guilty,,' Lancelot begs when
he discovers the king's identity. But
clearly, as soon as he falls in love with
Guenevere, his self-obsession-and
with it his "perfection"-disappears.
This enables the queen to fall in love

QUEEN GUENEVERE (Meg Bussert) steps back, startled at the lack of
humility shown by Lancelot (Richard Muenz) as he offers his service to her
and to King Arthur (Richard Harris). Camelot is showing at the Masonic
Temple in Detroit through September 27.

with him; he is no longer a pretentious
knight, untouchable upon his pedestal.
Muenz carries off the transformation
with ease.
LANCELOT MAY ham it up-a bit
too much, at times-but King Pellinore,
a friend from Arthur's youth, is
Camelot's informal jester. He doesn't,
have to beg for laughs, as Merlin does
in his brief time on the stage. He's a
"jolly-good-what-what" person, and his
simplicity in the midst of the com-
plexities of love and right versus wrong
adds a levity necessary for the story to
remain a fairy tale.
And, of course, there is an outright
"bad guy" to balance things. Arthur's

bastard son, Mordred (Albert Insin-
nia), is gleefully malicious as he sets
out to ruin the dream of Camelot. Insin-
nia spits out his distaste for virtue,
frolicking about the throne after he's
tried it on for size.
But a good fairy tale needs to end
on a hopeful note, and this one
does-more so than Burton's Camelot.
The dream of a p6rfect world will live,
because it is good. But if everything
from the weather to the humor of th
land can be controlled by roya
decree-as Arthur claims it can
be-then certainly it should be possible
to do something about the king's voice.

1 - 5 weekdays

Eyes: Only one worth seeing

By ADAM KNEE
The State Street Theaters currently
offer the Ann Arbor moviegoer two spy
films dealing with similar thematic
material from markedly different per-
spectives: Eye of the Needle and For
Your Eyes Only.
Eye of the Needle is by far the more

artistically successful of the two and is
well worth catching before the end of its
run at the State.
DONALD SUTHERLAND stars as
Faber, a ruthless, cruelly efficient
German agent trying to flee World War,
II Britain with information about the
/'coming Allied invasion of Europe. In at-

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MILES DAVIS
THE MAN WITH THE HORN
including
Shout/Back Seat Betty/Fat Time/A ida/Ursula

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tempting to rendezvous with a German
U-boat during a storm, he becomes
stranded on a remote coastal island,
where he is taken in by a disabled
British fighter pilot and his wife, Lucy
(Kate Nelligan). The emotionally am-
bigious relationship that ensues bet-
ween the Nazi Faber and the Briton
Lucy provides the major focus for the
film.-
What we have here, then, is not
another action-packed espionage
movie, but a moving, psychologically
complex drama in which the character
are forced to pit personal instint
against patriotic duty. Ultimately, this
drama serves to reveal the human side
of war-or, more accurately, the lack of
one.
DIRECTOR RICHARD Marquand
displays such precision and control in
his treatment of Eye of the Needle that
Follett's pacifist vision beams clearly."
All of the technical work is at once
unobtrusive and subliminally effectiv4
in drawing us into the film's world.
For example, the camera's coverage
is simple and concise-we see what we
need to and n6thing more-yet at the
same time the closeness and angles of
shots are subtly varied to underscore
the drama.
The scripting is equally efficient;
there is hardly a superfluous moment in
the narrative. Settings and even war-
drobes are chosen with the film's end in
mind, yet still retain a naturalistic feel.
This cleancut style allows the dram,
to reach us without im-
pediment-drama that is indeed
striking. Sutherland and Nelligan give
entirely convincing performances in
challenging roles. They play characters
See A PAIR, Page 7

I

Tickets are $12.50, $11.00 and $9.50
reserved and are now on sale at the
Michigan Union Box Office and all CTC

*u

Ftlets. r

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MILES DAVIS

THE MAN WITH THE HORN,
including:
Shbut/Back Seat BettyFat Time/AidaiUrsula

The Collaborative An Alternative Art Experience

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