Sunday, September 19

Beef and Boards: Camelot

Often a comedic actor is underestimated in his talent, so easy does he make his style appear to the audience and critics. And, yet, you will find that he is often a fantastic dramatic talent, as well. Jeff Stockberger has proven my theory in the Beef and Boards, Indianapolis, performance of Lerner and Loews' Camelot.
Jeff Stockberger and Krista Severeid in Camelot

Stockberger, one of my Destination Actors, steps, not once, but twice, into the Gotta Go spotlight this week. The first in a slow, sure-footed way as Merlyn, the mentor and magician, who guides young King Arthur, portrayed admirably by Douglas E. Stark, into his future as the idealistic ruler of Camelot.

Stockberger's second entrance into the spotlight is a little, sideways-sauntering gait, of sorts, as King Pellinore, the whimsical guest who arrives for a visit and never leaves. Do not enjoy Mr. Stockberger's zany side and cast out his less flashy, dramatic ability. Being able to switch costumes and characters, mid-show as he does, requires a skill we should not ignore.

The well-known tale of the Knights of the Round Table heats up when a love triangle ensues between Sir Lancelot, played forcefully by Tony Lawson, Queen Guenevere, played by Krista Severeid, and the king. Add in the side issue of illegitimate son Mordred, which brings me to the other performer in the Gotta Go spotlight this week.

Danny Kingston and Douglas E. Stark
Danny Kingston brings his own delightfully spiteful and vicious, twisted version to Mordred who hopes to eliminate, well, pretty much everyone who stands in his way of wearing the crown. He then incites jealousy, anger and yearnings within his fellow knights in a thoroughly wicked fashion. It's a joy to watch Kingston being so very good at being so very bad.

A special mention goes to set designer, Michael Layton. Creating a believable, theatrical set on a stage as small as B&B takes cunning and a deep desire for a challenge. Apparently Layton has both, as this set truly envelops the dreamy feel required for this musical, without losing the starkness of the reality which befalls the king.

Sir Thomas More is credited with creating the word, Utopia, meaning nowhere, when he wrote of a romantic mythical land of honour and chivalry. Only in fiction can a place exist where eternal happiness flows like a babbling brook, the government handles efficiently all matters necessary, and the military personnel frolics around a maypole with the ladies.

Stark offers a credible depiction of idealistic Arthur, who places his hope for the future of that unattainable perfect world into the hands of the next generation. In fact, I would say this is a role well suited to Stark, and my favorite thus far, showcasing his vocal abilities.

Bottom Line: The talents of Stockberger, Kingston and Stark shine in sharp contrast, making Beef and Boards' Camelot a dreamy delight.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and at Comments can be sent to

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Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.


Anonymous said...

What great news! Wish I could see the production.

Elizabeth J Musgrave said...

#1) I agree the show was enjoyable and Stockberger rocks in everything he does.

#2) Thanks for the compliment on the site, glad you find it stimulating. Come back often, lol!