The whole auditorium was made use of, with its raw wood make-up being so apt to the context of the play, forming at once both forest and castle. The most traditional stage conventions were used to amazing effect: backlighting displayed not only the amorous conception of Arthur and Margawse’s child, but also a battle and Launcelot’s move to France; projection produced a grotesquely gigantic baby to haunt Arthur and a crystal effect to act as the first sensing of the Holy Grail; light filters shone onto a material backdrop set the tone of the scenes, with angry devil-red giving way to watery blue to sickly, stone-like yellow.
The fantastic script (which even has lines in Latin) gave us glimmers of humorous respite from an otherwise dark tale: Arthur’s initial shock at pulling the sword from the stone - with Sam Troughton’s wide-eyed innocence making us fond of him from the outset - and Gareth’s pot and pan attack, to name a couple. The main drag of the plot though was downwards, into a gloomy well of Arthur’s despair at the knights he had prized so highly - a despair that grew as did his hair. Yet even this gloom was lightened by Arthur’s mysterious disappearance (and possible continuing existence?) and the doting Launcelot’s final redemption - for, as his heart-bedecked costume told, what was his fault but to love another with his whole being?
The play is so dense and of such epic proportions that it simply must be seen. Get in there and grab those 5 quid tickets or hop on the Shakespeare university buses and get some young blood into The Courtyard Theatre!