Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Mercury Theatre is a solid production of classic, well-loved material. First opening on Broadway in February 2005, this production has had a few slight tweaks to keep it up to date and relevant to the 2017 British audience it is playing to.
Daniel Buckroyd’s production, soon to tour the UK, is well-designed and well-directed. Quick paced and well executed, it makes the most of each of the cast with only two of the thirteen playing just one part. Ashley Nottingham’s choreography is clever and original but peppered with nods towards the various styles pastiched through Spamalot.
The band plays well but I felt as though, at times, it lacked the instrumental depth required to fully realise some of the elements of the parodic songs littered through the show.
Marc Akinfolarin shows his strong comedy chops as Sir Bedevere and also delivers the classic Monty Python old crone with aplomb. Daniel Cane, as Sir Robin, provides plenty of laughs and delivers a fantastic rendition of ‘You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz’ complete with Sally Bowles-style chair routine to finish.
Sally Frith and Gleanne Purcell-Brown showcase strong voices and dance ability, alongside John Brannoch’s impressive skills, to form the small but mighty ensemble of this show.
Matthew Pennington has great range and comic timing, especially as Fred, who is not yet dead, and Prince Herbert, the show’s primary ingénue. Simon Shorten, a welcome return from last year’s Sweeney Todd, is brilliant, with each of his roles wonderfully over the top and eccentric.
Norton James, as Galahad, shows his powerful vocals in a duet with Sarah Harlington and is particularly hilarious as the father of Prince Herbert. Harlington, our female lead, sound fabulous as the Lady of the Lake and wrings every laugh from her wonderful ‘Diva’s Lament’ in the second act.
Rounding up the cast are Bob Harms, whose King Arthur is a treat, taking himself just seriously enough for us to laugh both with and at him, and Dale Superville, well at home on the Mercury stage. As Patsy, Dale hilariously gurns and grumbles his way through the show, winning the audience over in moments.
Overall, this is a very good production of a very silly musical. With iconic lines, beloved characters and all the charm of the original movie, with the added bonus of some brilliant Broadway spoof songs, I’d recommend catching this production as, unlike the eponymous meat product, it will only be around for so long.
Review by Banjamin Powell
Lovingly ripped off from the hugely successful 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is a riotous comedy full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns and ferocious Frenchmen.
We join King Arthur as he travels around the land gathering his Knights of the Round Table. This band of hapless adventurers are then tasked with a divine mission to locate the elusive Holy Grail – with uproarious consequences. With comic tunes including Brave Sir Robin, We’re Knights of the Round Table and perennial favourite Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Spamalot audiences are sure to be dancing in the aisles.
Book, Music & Lyrics Eric Idle & John Du Prez
Director Daniel Buckroyd
Designer Sara Perks
Choreographer Ashley Nottingham
Lighting Designer David W. Kidd
Sound Designer Christopher Bogg
Musical Director Carlton Edwards
Sir Bedevere Marc Akinfolarin
Head Minstrel John Brannoch
Sir Robin Daniel Cane
Female Ensemble (Dance Captain/Understudy Lady Of The Lake) Sally Frith
Lady Of The Lake Sarah Harlington
King Arthur Bob Harms
Sir Galahad Norton James
Prince Herbert Matthew Pennington
Female Ensemble Gleanne Purcell-Brown
Sir Lancelot Simon Shorten
Patsy Dale Superville
Listings Information Made in Colchester
Fri 21 Apr – Sat 13 May