Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Review of Spamalot Nottingham Theatre Royal

                 Make it your quest to go and see Spamalot!

Spamalot, the hit Monty Python comedy musical written by Eric Idle and John Du Prez currently resides at Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 27th June. It is a fun, politically incorrect romp heavily influenced by Python's film 'Monty Python and The Holy Grail' graced with extra campness in the theatrical mix.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe with choreography by Jenny Arnold Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and his assistant Patsy (played by father and son Joe Pasquale and Joe Tracini) gathering together a group of knights to go on a quest to find the vessel of the Holy Grail. The quest is instigated by the beautiful Lady of the Lake played and sung by Sarah Earnshaw. Earnshaw has the perfect mix of terrific singing voice and comedy and her songs are some of the highlights of the show, in particular the Diva's Lament.

King Arthur's role is 98% comedy based and Pasquale comes into his own with some perfect comic timing and mastery of his comedic talents. Thankfully the role doesn't call for much singing as his, not so strong, singing voice doesn't match up with the high vocal standards of the rest of the cast. Saying that the first night audience at Nottingham Theatre Royal love every second he is on stage.

Joe Tracini wows the audience as the sympathetic Patsy and is clearly a gifted actor, singer and all round performer. He has energy in abundance and is clearly talent to watch out for. The heart glows each time he appears.

Plenty of Pythonesque silliness prevails throughout and fans who haven't seen the show will be delighted to see a vision of Eric Idle as God talking to King Arthur. All the character and situation elements from the film are here on stage, well most of them. We have the knights who say “nee”; the knight who gets chopped to bits by King Arthur but won't give up; the singing and dancing Knights of the Round Table strutting their stuff, the French Knights farting in the King's direction and soothsayer Tim and the deadly rabbit.

As the lyrics go “ If life seems jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten and that's to laugh and dance and smile and sing...” and looking on that 'bright side of life' is what this show is all about.

Songs include Fisch Schlapping Song, The Song That Goes Like This (terrifically performed by Richard Meek as Sir Galahad and Sarah Earnshaw as Lady of the Lake) Camelot and Find Your Grail both given full belt by the full company. The most looked forward to and famous song is Always Look on the Bright Side of Life sung by Tracini in fine vocal form.

Three other highlights of the show are the Diva's Lament and the very funny scene in Prince Herbert's chamber with a gloriously camp Richard Kent as the 'soon to be wed' Prince Herbert who only wants to sing in falsetto. Jamie Tyler is hilarious as a newly realised gay Sir Lancelot and has the audience weeping with laughter in his song and dance scene featuring the jaunty Cococabana influenced song His Name is Lancelot. Will Hawksworth steals the show in the second half as brave Sir Robin and the two actresses Abigail Climer and Holly Easterbrook bring not only some showbiz female glitz and glamour to the stage but are also excellent in their comedy roles.

Overall a superb night's entertainment (or is that knight's entertainment?) which has the audience in stitches pretty much for the whole show. It even includes magic effects and audience participation and you are not obliged to eat any Spam in the interval but this reviewer did because he loves it. He could eat it day and night. Wonderful Spam! Marvellous Spam! Spam and chips, eggs and spam, I could eat Spam a lot. Maybe this reviewer is showing his age now. Exit stage left and don't trip over the shrubbery!

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