Idle Muse Theatre Company’s The Last Queen of Camelot, scripted and directed by Idle Muse artistic director Evan M. Jackson, plays like an Arthurian fantasy graphic novel come to life. Jackson’s take on the tale of legendary sixth-century British King Arthur Pendragon (Joel Thompson) focuses on Queen Guinevere (Caty Gordon-Hall), Arthur’s wife through an arranged marriage of political alliance. When Arthur’s knights of the Round Table ride off on their quest for the Holy Grail, leaving Camelot vulnerable to attack, Arthur commands his best warrior and most beloved brother in arms, Sir Lancelot (Jack Sharkey), to stay home to defend the realm.
The Last Queen of Camelot
Through 4/23: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, The Edge Off Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa, 773-340-9438, idlemuse.org, $20 ($15 students and seniors/$10 industry Thu)
But Lancelot and Guinevere’s hidden passion for each other blossoms. This provides Arthur’s secret enemy—his own sister, Morgan le Fay (the mercurial Elizabeth MacDougald)—an opportunity to bring Arthur’s peaceable kingdom down in ruins and place her son, the treacherous Sir Mordred (Xavier Lagunas), on the throne. The action builds to a final showdown between two blade-brandishing women, Morgan and Guinevere, to determine who will live as the last queen of Camelot to carry on Arthur’s legacy—or to crush it.
The dialogue is heightened, alliterative, and rhythmically charged; the stage pictures are formal and vivid; the sound and music design, by L.J. Luthringer, is atmospheric and intense; and the simple scenery by Stina Taylor, moodily and magically lit by Laura J. Wiley, is evocative of a half-remembered, half-imagined medieval world. The whole production is remarkably varied visually, especially considering the small size of the 45-seat storefront space in which the show is presented.