THEATRE REVIEW: Spamalot, 07/12/2010, Alexandra Theatre (Birmingham)


Slapstick comedy comes to the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham this December as “Monty Python’s Spamalot” begins its month-long run.

The brainchild of Eric Idle and John Du Prez, this “new musical lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail” does exactly what it’s say on the tin!

Spoofing the legendary tale of King Arthur and his quest to find the Holy Grail, we follow the King and his faithful servant Patsy as they recruit their Knights of the Round Table, and are instructed by God (a recording of Eric Idle complete with long white wig), to seek out the Holy Grail. And so their many haphazard and unfortunate adventures start in true Monty Python style.

The bright and colourful almost panto-esque backdrop and the overture played by the band sets the scene before the actors even appear on the stage. Then the historian appears stage right to give a brief explanation of England in medieval times before the ensemble leap on to stage singing instead of Finland and “Fisch Schlapping”. This first of many comedic miscommunications sets the tone for an evening of laughter and silliness.

All the favourite characters from the films are lovingly recreated on stage from the Black Knight, The Knights who say “Ni, and a very scary bunny rabbit who’ll have your head off if you’re not careful!

Many of the cast play several roles, and yet nothing is lost in these transitions, as each character is played perfectly, and only the most keen of eyes may notice when one of the band of knights is missing off stage, as he plays someone else.

Robin Armstrong who plays not only the historian, a minstrel, the rather unfortunate  Not Dead Fred and the very effeminate Prince Herbert really captures the spirit of Monty Python on stage and could easily have passed for one of the original film cast. Graham McDuff has the audience in stitches as both the French Taunter and a Knight of Ni, which he juggles alongside the  role of Sir Lancelot.

Jodie Prenger also deserves a mention as she hams it up big time as the Lady of the Lake. Matthew Kelly and Todd Carty were also on top form during an opening night to be proud of.

If you’re looking for a show to light up your evening, especially during this dark, cold and dreary month, then look no further. After all they say that laughter is the best medicine!

Rating: 4/5
Kim Harrell


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