‘Spamalot’ a satisfyingly fun romp
Tongue-in-cheek comedy retains many of the movie’s scenes.
If you like your comedy irreverent and unabashedly silly, Monty Python’s Spamalot is the show for you. Of course, it helps if you’re a fan of Monty Python, the trail-blazing, oh-so-British comedy troupe of the late 1960s and early 1970s television series and later movies.
MNM Productions’ joyous production opened the company’s season Thursday at the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse.
The musical, which features a book and lyrics by Python Eric Idle, as well as music by Idle and John Du Prez, is based on the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
It retains most of the movie’s best scenes, as well as the labyrinthine and witty verbal gymnastics for which the Pythons were famous. Deviations include a Lady of the Lake and her Laker Girls, a mission to mount a Broadway musical, a dif- ferent ending and spoofs of famous musicals.
Zestfully directed and choreographed by Kimberly Dawn Smith, with a seven-piece band led by musical director Paul Reekie, the production largely overcomes its budget and space limitations. It even features a few big-tap numbers, such as the parasol-twirling Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
Johnbarry Green’s King Arthur leads a band of eccentric knights who are just as clueless as he is. The most watchable is Sahid Pabon’s cowardly Sir Robin, who’s revealed as a closet musical theater performer when the mission turns to Broadway.
As the Lady of the Lake, Laura Hodos parodies showbiz divas with overthe-top vocal fireworks. When her scantily clad Laker Girls bounce onto the stage, the show becomes even more delectably ridiculous.
Most performers play multiple roles, but none better than Michael Scott Ross, who’s laugh-outloud funny as the Historian, Not Dead Fred, a Taunter, a Minstrel and the effeminate Prince Herbert. Pierre Tannous’ multiple roles include the outrageous slattern Mrs. Galahad.
Occasionally, a prop or costume will look cheesy, such as the anti-climactic dismembering of the Black Knight. The castle-wall set, with its multiple doors and second level, is surprisingly versatile.
Now and then, a performer will overact. Joshua McKinney’s sneering French taunter is amusing, until you realize most of his gibes are unintelligible.
As the Lady of the Lake might say, MNM Productions has captured its Holy Grail with this satisfyingly tongue-incheek romp.
Monty Python’s “Spamalot” features Johnbarry Greene, right, as King Arthur, and Mike Westrich as the Black Knight. The show will be at the Kravis Center through June 4.