LETTERS TO EDITOR
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The Naughty Knight
by Nicole Bergot
The Naughty Knight, loosely based on a Mark Twain fable, with much gusto but sans substance, merges fairytale, music, comedy and humour into a lively medieval romance. The end result is a foolish yarn about an imperiled pop up story book kingdom set to a mildly catchy score undertaken by an enthused cast.
The story opens with the leader of Nottingnumb, the sniveling and illegitimate King Berger, (a cunning performance by Gordon Joseph Weiss) on his deathbed without a male heir. The death is in fact merely a frantic attempt to marry off his daughter, Lady Esther (Rebecca Rich) whose desperate attempts to lure a man to "tiptoe up the trellis and trample on her tulips" justifiably win the show's heartiest laughs.
Meanwhile the king's servant, Jervis (a tediously wholesome Christopher Hanke), seeks out King Berger's twin brother Gerber's daughter Lady Constance (Rebecca Kupka) to gain back the throne rightfully belonging to her father. Dressed as Gerber's son , Constance sets off in a dinghy, ill prepared to meet the tomfoolery that follows: mistaken identities, misguided romantic pursuits, gender politics, last minute stay of executions and men in sexy lingerie singing and guardsman.
The set and costumes by Frank J. Boros are striking enough to warm up the otherwise sterile and gray Duke theatre with bursting pinks and yellows and greens that draw us into the fairytale, even when the story does not. The tunes, created by Chuck Strand, who received a Tony nominee for The Lieutenant in 1975, may not have the cache to keep you humming on the subway ride home, but hey do capture the attention of the audience. The ensemble pieces are accompanied by clever choreography. Especially enjoyable is the cabaretesque I Love the Ladies scene, in which Lady Constance attempts to prove her masculinity, while trying to ease away from the clutches of Esther.