Spamalot is currently playing at The Playhouse Theatre, which is situated about two minutes’ walk from the Embankment Underground and the River Thames; perfect for including some sight-seeing with your theatre trip. The theatre itself is rather beautiful and has a gorgeous, sweeping, classic red stage curtain that I completely fell in love with. The seats were, also, very comfy and I had a perfect view from where I was sitting (F14). The only down side I could find with the theatre is that due to it being a classic Victorian theatre it is lacking in air conditioning, however, as soon as the show started I forgot the heat and lost myself in the madness and hilarity that is Spamalot.
Spamalot is based around the tale of King Arthur and is, “…lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”. Now I’m will admit here to not being a Monty Python fan but I found myself rolling with laughter at the sheer brilliance and audacity of this wonderful, bright and colourful show. Now if you go expecting a deadly serious show which will leave you sobbing your heart out then you’ll probably be disappointed; tears of laughter is more like it. Spamalot is simply a fun, feel good show with a lot of laughs and a rather heart-warming ending.
The show is, also, rather an extravaganza; not so much because of the complex sets and lighting, but because of the bright colours, topical gags and killer music. The score includes the Monty Python classic, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ and features some quirky numbers, such as, ‘I Am Not Dead Yet’ and ‘You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz’, as well as having some beautiful, if somewhat funny ballads, namely, ‘The Song That Goes Like This’ and ‘Whatever Happened to my Part?’. What I really liked about the show is that you can listen to the soundtrack before seeing it and still see the humour and enjoy the show.
And now we come to the most important bit; the cast. Spamalot has recently seen a cast change with Joe Pasquale replacing Stephen Tompkinson as King Arthur and Bonnie Langford taking over the role of The Lady of the Lake from Anna-Jane Casey.
I was slightly sceptical of Pasquale playing King Arthur, nevertheless, I was suitably impressed by his performance. He really suited the style of the show and his additional quips at the audience made him very funny indeed.
As mentioned, Bonnie Langford starred as The Lady of the Lake and, oh my, has that girl still got it! This shouldn’t be surprising for a woman who came to light at age six when she won the talent show Opportunity Knocks before going on to star in the TV series, Just William, and then starring in a raft of other TV shows and theatre productions. Langford was just amazing; she had a strong voice, quirky facial expressions and had really bonded well with all the rest of the cast. Her rendition of ‘Whatever Happened to my Part?’ was just fantastic. I think it’s safe to say that Langford certainly stole the show for me.
King Arthur’s faithful servant, Patsy, was played by the fantastic Michael Burgen whose part in the song ‘I’m All Alone’ had me in stitches. He was joined on stage by the absolutely amazingly brilliant Adam Ellis, who played Prince Herbert/Historian/Not Dead Fred/Minstrel. He completely made the song ‘He is Not Dead Yet’ and, well, there are not enough positive words to describe his portrayal of Prince Herbert; camp perfection!
The rest of the cast was made up of the Jon Robyns (Sir Dennis/Black Knight/Prince Herbert’s Father), Kim Orton (Sir Lancelot/French Taunter/Knight of Ni/Tim the Enchanter), Rob Delaney (Sir Robin/Mayor/Guard) and Robin Armstrong (Sir Bedevere/Mrs Galahad/Concorde/Guard); all of whom were brilliant, strong actors with great voices and a good sense of comic timing. Furthermore, the ensemble and swings were made up of Anouska Eaton, Chris Jenkins, Hannah Malekzad, James Nelson, Nikki Bentley, Graham Newell and Matthew Russell-Jones who were just the cherry on the top of a gorgeous cast.
All in all, I thought the cast was fantastic and they complimented each other perfectly. I was, also, very impressed by the multiple-rolling that went on as each character was defined individually and it could have been quite easy to forget how small the cast actually is.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and the cast, and could quite easily go back and see it again and again. Spamalot will leave you with a smile on your face, a spring in your step and a song in your heart…”Oh, always look on the bright side of life, do do, do do, do do do do do do.”.
Review by Kat Caunter @GreenGirlsRox
Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE
Monday 8th July 2013