The Rise of General Arthur” might be more appropriatly titled “The Coming of Age of Lance- Corporal Pellinore.”
Author/performer Phillip Low adapts some classic Arthurian literature about the young Pellinore (future knight of King Arthur’s Round Table) and time-shifts him to the first Iraq War (Desert Storm), where we learn of his departure from home after his father’s death, his pursuit of a dangerous beast, his fight with a man he fails to realize is General Arthur, his receipt of guidance from Merlin, and his killing of King Lot.
The idea is intriguing but the result is disappointing. On balance, the transition to the modern military world does not add much that is new to the stories or the themes of idealism, heroism, and loyalty. Low does make Pellinore an interesting young country Marine, but the character does not evolve much during these episodes. These stories probably are better read than heard, as the narration can be a little dense at times.
As far as the performance, Low is below average as a professional storyteller. He often speaks very fast and loud without much variety in his vocalizations. In parts, he is too wedded to the script.
I applaud the novelty of the endeavor and appreciate the scholarship involved in developing the work. But this fan of Arthurian literature wishes it was more entertaining.
The Rise of General Arthur
presented by maximum velocity
reviewed by Steven McKnight