By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
It's an odd staging by Casa Mañana veteran Joel Ferrell. Not a successful one. This seems to be Camelot by way of Tolkien's gloomy Middle Earth. There's a dreary look to the thing and a leaden feeling to songs that should be frothy and romantic. "If Ever I Would Leave You" and "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" have been slowed to funereal dirges. "The Lusty Month of May" never sounded so lackluster.
Pointy-limbed cutouts of leafless trees loom over Randel Wright's cavernous set, which is built on so many sharp-angled levels, actors must leap like mountain goats to scale it. Ric Leal's costumes drape the actors in droopy tunics of unflattering beiges and browns.
The biggest failure is the lighting design by Laura McMeley. PRT never casts enough wattage on its casts. But in Camelot, entire scenes unfold in inky shadows completely obscuring actors' faces. All of stage left remains as murky as a dungeon. Upstage is lost in darkness for the entire three hours. When Arthur, Guenevere and Lance start singing, the lights actually go down instead of warming up. An overactive smoke machine makes it worse. In all that heavy fog on that unlit multilevel set, it's a wonder someone hasn't broken a leg.
In short, there's simply not/a less congenial spot/for happily-ever-aftering/than Plano's Camelot.