Theatre Review: Monty Python’s Spamalot

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Presented by Marie Clark Musical Theatre
Reviewed 25 May 2018

Marie Clark Musical Theatre shows us the bright side of life in Monty Python’s absurdist musical comedy, Spamalot, based on their 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

With the book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by Idle and John Du Prez, Python fans know they’re in for treat while any newcomers to the surreal imagination of the comedy troupe can expect the unexpected.

The Black Knight who loses all his limbs and continues to want to fight, the Fisch Schlapping Dance, The Knights Who Say Ni, and dear Patsy with his coconut horse hooves are all present and accounted for as King Arthur and his hapless Knights of the Round Table bumble their way through a quest to find the Holy Grail.

While opening night wasn’t short of a few technical glitches early on, the smooth running of Act II heralds a good season ahead with the stellar cast lead by director Brian Godfrey. On stage, the merry band of performers are a tight ensemble despite a standout performance by Casmira Hambledon as The Lady of the Lake. How is she not a star?

Her ability to shine is no mean feat given the company she keeps: Michael Butler is a strong lead as King Arthur; Ben Todd silently steals many scenes as his aide, Patsy; and Sebastian Cooper has the voice of the brave as Sir Galahad. Buddy Dawson, Jamie Wright, Chris Bierton and the rest of the cast are also in fine form, despite some diction issues with the choral work.

Ben Stefanoff’s Spanish Inquisition Band sound good but are often too loud, drowning out the comical lyrics to several songs. The sound levels were a long way from being right on opening night, although that’s no fault of his. Stefanoff’s set design effectively keeps the play moving while providing for multiple scenes ranging from townships and castles to ‘a dark and very expensive’ forest.

Bravo to Rachel Dow and Rebekah Stonelaitken for some of the dumbest choreography ever seen in Adelaide. They nail it. There’s so many laughs to be had in so many of the dance routines, one wonders how much they must have studied Python’s humour in preparation for this show.

Narelle Lee and her assistants April Eley and Janette Kew have done a stellar job on the wardrobe, finding the colour, quirkiness and trickery needed to add the icing on the cake for this fine production.

It has been many years since I’ve seen Spamalot performed locally so it’s good to know that Monty Python is ‘not dead yet’. Brian Godfrey’s tight direction is witty and just right for a night of outrageously absurd comedy.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Venue: Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: 25 May – 2 June 2018
Duration: 2.5 hours
Tickets: $26-$34
Bookings: Phone (08) 8251 3926, email: [email protected] or visit www.marieclark.asn.au/tickets

Disclaimer: Director Brian Godfrey is Glam Adelaide’s Arts Editor.

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About Author

Rod Lewis has been a member of the Glam Adelaide family since February 2010. He is our Books & Literature Editor and has previously led the arts, film and television portfolios. He has been a professional Arts critic for more than 30 years. To get in touch, contact [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @StrtegicRetweet

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