Monty Python’s SPAMALOT
Director: Cathie Henry
Musical supplied by backing tracks
Choreography: Cathie Henry. Assisted By Bethan Littlewood
Eric Idle’s “Spamalot” has been described as an adult pantomime. It certainly is a good romp that cannot fail to put a smile on the face of your audience. It is blatantly taken from “Monty Python and the “Holy Grail” film in which Eric Idle played Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot. Spam is an abbreviation of spicy ham and the writers certainly captured just that.
To create such a concept is not an easy task.
Careful handling by the director enabled the cast to get the most out of the script. One rule of thumb is that an actor should not find a script funny: they should just deliver their lines. An audience will indicate whether or not they find the play funny. Everyone one stage followed that rule, though maybe a little tentatively at first. But once the audience had given its response it was all systems go.
A very workable set was supplied by “Stage a Show.” Stage manager, Jon Kennedy, and the crew worked hard allowing the production to flow without interruption. Technically, lighting, sound and the cueing of the music gave the show an extra dimension.
Costumes (not listed) defined the characters and props (many personal) were handled well.
As “Spamalot” is also a spoof on musical theatre, dancers are needed. The “Spamalot Hoofers” added to the madcap proceedings. The big company numbers, “Run Away” and “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway” were well executed. The ensembles and support cast were both brash and bonkers, totally in keeping with this topsy turvy parody of the legend of King Arthur.
The cast played multiple roles, all delivered with the same energy and created the right scenario for each of their scenes. Phil Turner portrayed Historian, Not Dead Fred and Minstrel; Phil made each character different with excellent delivery and musicality: a very competent performer. Sir Galahad, Black Knight, and Father were notably handled by Christopher Holding, bringing much mayhem and comedy to the quest for the Holy Grail. One of the other misfit Knights of the Round Table is Sir Robin, a role safely in the hands of Joshua Thomas, who also covered a guard and Brother Maynard. Dom Peters fully embraced the characters of Sir Lancelot, French Taunter, Knight of Ni and Tim. This was another set of anarchic characters which form part of the funny, crazy, Pythonesque world.
King Arthur was give regal status by Chris Mullowney, riding his invisible horse, assisted by his trusty, coconut-clattering aide, Patsy (Liam Thompson). Liam was.very entertaining as the “Baldrick” of the piece ,always looking on the bright side of life.
Nicki Synkar as the theatrical diva, the Lady of the Lake, was every inch the diva. With powerhouse vocals, Nicki fully embraced the outrageousness of the character.
All those flamboyant characters and their exploits created an evening of fun and frolics, christening the group’s debut in its new venue.