I was quite looking forward to Galavant, the recent musical comedy from the US ABC network. A new music drama is still a very rare thing.
Alas, my enthusiasm has slipped considerably from the beginning of the first episode to the end. Sure, it has some attributes, but they are outweighed by its downright silliness. Silly can also be good, if it is executed with finesse.
Galavant is medieval merriment that centres around a dashing knight -he of the series title- played by Joshua Sasse. The opening sequence is downright Disney, with our hero on horseback, singing townsfolk, and music theatre schtick. It effectively crams backstory into a tight time frame so that we can get on with the story.
Galavant‘s fair maiden Madalena (Mallory Jansen) is kidnapped by the odious King Richard (Timothy Omundson) and forced into a royal wedding. At the fairytale moment when Galavant is about to thwart their wedding ceremony, Madalena surprises him: true love can go jump, she’d rather wealth and fame thanks very much. Bummer.
But Galavant is still a local hero and thorn in the side of the King, who sends in Princess Isabella (Karen David) as a bit of a double agent, to convince Galavant to visit his castle.
Joshua Sasse (now engaged to one Kylie Minogue) is indeed leading man material. Like a medieval Hugh Jackman, he has the tall, dark & handsome package and isn’t afraid to sing. He has recently been cast in a new US pilot No Tomorrow, leading to speculation Galavant won’t survive beyond its 2 seasons.
Less appealing is Timothy Omundson hammy King Richard, over-acting with bad jokes. Perhaps it would fit a Spamalot stage -here it’s just irritating. Mallory Jansen’s Kardashian-esque Queen Madalena fails to provide enough relief from unsubtle characterisations.
The costumes are spotless, the man-servant is black, and the performance style is contemporary despite the period.
The second attribute, I did say there were two, are the musical numbers by the gifted Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. It may not be Menken’s best work, but the songs are accessible.
However I found the show’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t appear to now whom its audience is: youth / women / music theatre aficionados…..
At just 30 minutes, Galavant is a light diversion that will have you hummin’ the tunes while you’re wondering how the crown managed to slip along the way.
Galavant airs 8pm Tuesday on 7flix.