Mini Whipped and I trekked to Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook to review the musical Camelot. It was an afternoon we will likely both remember forever.
One of the great joys of raising children is the ability to rediscover the world through their fresh eyes. There is only one “first” for everything and a child’s world is filled with them. The wonder and excitement of new things are contagious. Watching my daughters’ eyes light up and their breath quicken as they try new foods and enjoy new experiences conjures memories that carry me on their wave of discovery.
Some months ago, I was offered tickets to see Camelot, the musical currently playing at Drury Lane Theatre. Mini Whipped is 6-years-old, loves music and is full of drama so I thought it might be the ideal opportunity to introduce her to musicals. I still remember watching The Sound of Music at our civic theatre and feeling overcome by the music and dance, which sparked dreams of performing throughout my childhood. (I cast myself as Annie but sadly only had the hair, not the voice.)
I didn’t plan much for our outing until the evening before the matinee. When I searched existing reviews of the show, Chris Jones’ review for the Chicago Tribune made me question if I’d chosen the right performance for my 1st grader:
“The Lusty Month of May,” generally the kind of flower-encrusted gavotte you might associate with Disney, is a desire-filled romp here, with Christy Altomare’s young and dangerous Guenevere even suggesting that her ample sexual energies may not be satisfied merely by Arthur and Lancelot. The Royal Bedchamber — the setting for the seemingly sexless classic “I Loved You Once in Silence”— is framed by a melange of sheets and naked flesh. And, most important of all, the show’s classic triangular structure has been filled with young, hot actors (HBO has much for which to answer).”
Though there were handsome, shirtless men and a scantily clad scene between the sheets, luckily I knew that innocence prevailed when Mini Whipped whispered to me, “Oh, I see what is happening. Lancelot snuck into her room to snuggle with her.”
From the first scene in an enchanted forest with sultry fog and eerie lights through the famous love songs and fighting scenes, Mini Whipped was entranced. I was concerned that the musical would feel a bit “tired” or dated like productions of old shows often do but I was happily entertained from the beginning and carried through with momentum to the end of the show. I can’t say exactly how much enjoyment came from the performance and how much was fueled by the little hands that gripped my arm, squeezing with each triumphant moment. And, my sentimentality may have been augmented by the little head on my shoulder that sighed audibly as Lancelot sang about his love for Guinevere.
Overall, I was impressed by the scenery, the costumes and the talent. What kept me particularly interested were the underlying themes of the show, which are relatable and timeless. The love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot is believable and complex. The moral dilemmas around the establishment of law and order over war and chaos is a relevant concern and one we grapple with as its peppered through our daily news.
Though my 6-year-old sidekick enjoyed the show, this isn’t really a kid-focused production. If you enjoy musicals, I do suggest you head to Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook. (If you need something to tide you over between seasons of Game of Thrones, Camelot will help.)
If you don’t want to take my word for it, perhaps Mini Whipped’s review will convince you, which was penned during the 1 hour 15 minute drive back into the city during rush hour.
I like the costumes they are pretty and cool.
My favorite boy was Arthur.
My favorite girl was Guinevere.
I like the set because it had a tree that changed seasons.
They had very cool fake snow.
There was also some fighting.
It was a long way, but it was worth it.