‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’ was hysterical.
Based on the film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Spamalot takes the comedic film and recreates it on stage as a musical. With a score by John Dy Prez and lyrics and book by Eric Idle, the story follows King Arthur of England as he searches for his Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail. Having received 14 Tony Award Nomination, it won the award for ‘Best Musical’, ‘Outstanding Musical’, ‘Outstanding Lyrics’, ‘Outstanding Costume Design’, ’Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical’ (Sara Ramirez, Lady of the Lake, Broadway), ’Best Direction of a Musical’, (Mark Nichols, original Broadway director), as well as the Theatre World Award (2005), and a Grammy Award for ‘Best Musical Show Album’ in 2006.
‘Monty Python’s SPAMALOT’ has now made its way to The Spotlight Theatre Company’s stage, and is directed by Clay English, who tripled as the show’s choreographer, and as Sir Robin. Other notable key creatives are Shari Willner, the Musical Director and Laura English, the Associate Choreographer. The show’s fantastic cast includes Chris Catherwood as King Arthur; Samantha Sherrin as the Lady of the Lake; Tristan Vanyai as Patsy, King Arthur’s sidekick; Andy Macfarlane as Sir Lancelot; Perrin Gilbert as Dennis/Sir Galahad; Rowan Welch as Sir Bedevere. Every actor perfectly embodied their role and had perfect comedic timing. This cast had me falling out of my chair laughing the entire show.
Samantha Sherrin blew audiences away with her fantastic vocals and as the gorgeous Lady of the Lake. The high notes, the low notes, all the notes in between, had audiences completely enthralled.
The choreography was incredible; Not-Dead-Fred actor Andrew King was a joy to watch, jumping around the stage, showing he truly was not “dead” yet. The Laker Girls – Bianca Rick, Bree Page, Georgina Walsh, Jennifer Gilbert, Lauren Vartanian and Natalie Cassantie – astonished audiences with their effortless ability to dance in heels. It is not an easy task, and every one of them pulled it off with ease and grace. Kudos to them.
The reveal of Lancelot’s homosexuality in ‘His Name is Lancelot’ was a true highlight. Andy Macfarlane did a fabulous job in portraying Lancelot’s shock at being exposed, and his accepting of who he was. The entire number was hilarious, from when he was stripped of his Knight garb and revealed to be wearing a stripper outfit, to the dancers and their outrageously funny choreography, they had audience members wide-eyed and loving it.
The French characters were priceless, with strong delivery and “stuck up” energy from the ensemble; the most memorable line, “I fart in your general direction”. The accents were on point and made the scene all the more entertaining.
Costuming was stunning, in particular, the outfits for the Lady of the Lake, who donned a gorgeous sparkling blue dress during the song ‘Find Your Grail’. For the Knights, the colour association and differentiation were a huge help in defining who was who. For the ensemble, their variety of costumes, such as their French outfits as mimes, bakers, Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast, Marie Antoinette and Madeline, were fun to see. The characters, whilst completely unrelated to the show, paid homage to the different French characters of pop culture and history.
The reveal of the Holy Grail added audience participation and was completely unexpected. They did well to incorporate audience participation while maintaining the absurdity of the show.
At one point during the first act, a stagehand came on stage to clear some flowers, and everything sat silent and dark for a couple of minutes. Most likely a technical issue and easy to miss against an overall fabulous show.
Watching the show, one would not know that this was a community theatre production. Between remarkable comedy, outstanding acting, extravagant choreography and beautiful costumes, The Spotlight Theatre Company’s rendition of ‘Monty Python’s SPAMALOT’ was incredibly entertaining to watch, and a perfect way to spend a Friday night.
‘Monty Python’s SPAMALOT’ performs until August 26th, 2023 at Spotlight Theatre. For more information visit their website.