I must admit I have never been the biggest fan of Monty Python so seeing Spamalot, the musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, has never really been a priority of mine but seeing as the UK Tour was in my local theatre for a week, I decided to go along and check it out and I absolutely loved what I saw! It was great to see a comedic show that genuinely made me laugh (unlike some others).
Monty Python member Eric Idle wrote the music, lyrics and book for the show, with additional music by John Du Prez. I was virtually unaware of the score going in, minus The Diva’s Lament and The Song That Goes Like This, but found it surprisingly catchy and very enjoyable. The book was as funny as you’d expect, with some classic moments from the film it is based on featured such as the Knights of Ni and the Rabbit of Caerbannog, and I also loved the local references, especially when about getting drunk in our Wetherspoons. I also found it very funny to watch the cast react to some of the adlibbed moments and fail to stifle their laughter.
Speaking of the cast, they were led by Bob Harms as King Arthur who was suitably up himself and pompous, showcasing a very strong voice as well. Opposite him as devoted servant Patsy was Rhys Owen in an adorable performance that tugged on the heartstrings at points, especially in I’m All Alone. In the now iconic role of the Lady of the Lake was Katherine Glover who was delightfully self-aware and sassy, and gave a very assured performance despite only joining the cast shortly before I saw the show. I found a moment of hers during The Diva’s Lament involving some lip-synching particularly funny.
Stephen Arden played Sir Robin with such camp hilarity and it was brilliant to watch, his standout act 2 number, You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz, being a massive crowd-pleaser. Johnathan Tweedie was particuarly charismatic as Sir Lancelot, also playing smaller roles such as the Head Knight of Ni, Tim the Enchanter and the French Taunter to a great reaction from the crowd. Norton James also did a great job as Sir Galahad, singing a great rendition of The Song That Goes Like This and was also brilliantly funny as the King of Swamp Castle in the second act. Marc Akinfolarin was also hilarious as per usual as Sir Bedevere and Mrs Galahad in particular. A new name to me was Matthew Pennington who played the effeminate Prince Herbert with all the weediness the role requires, as well as various other roles, and was fantastic in each. The show’s small but extremely strong ensemble also did a great job in multiple roles throughout the show.
Daniel Buckroyd’s direction was assured and strong throughout, really capturing the tongue-in-cheek nature of the show. Also deserving mention are Ashley Nottingham for some great choreography, as well as Sara Perks for her design (I especially loved the costumes) and David W. Kidd for the lighting.
A thoroughly enjoyable show which definitely surprised me, showcasing a really strong cast, all of whom are clearly at the top of their game! The tour has now concluded.