Pic1: Arthur and the Knights. Pic 2: Galahad and The Lady of the Lake.
Monty Python’s Spamalot
Based on the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Book and lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle
Directed by Alex Lanham
Brisbane Arts Theatre
Season: November 23 – January 18. Duration: two hours 10 minutes including interval. Bookings: www.artstheatre.com.au or (07) 3369 2344
Monty Python’s Spamalot was first produced in 2005 and I have been trying to see it ever since, but somehow each time a production was staged in Brisbane, I missed it. Now thanks to the Brisbane Arts Theatre its mission accomplished – and the wait was well worthwhile
The production was a stunner. Alex Lanham’s direction made the small Arts theatre stage feel like the Lyric Theatre as he moulded a cast of nine plus 10 ensemble singers and dancers into cohesive teams.
As a critic it was a dream job: there was nothing to criticise. The whole show was a laughter-making joy from beginning to end; I either guffawed out loud, or sat with a silly grin in my face as I watched the Python idiocy brought to life.
It was great see the familiar characters from Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the arrogant but insecure King Arthur ride onto the stage on his coconut shell steed activated by the faithful peasant, Patsy, and his oddball assortment of knights; to relive I’m Not Dead Fred, the Knights who say Neep and the limb-slashing “flesh wound’ swordfight and all those inane conversations and marvellous songs that had the audience crying with laughter. All this with fabulous and zany costumes, high-quality song and dance including a ring-in song from The Life of Brian - Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: twice!
Technically it was excellent too with beautifully balanced sound from Jordan Boyd and scene-matching lighting from Geoff Squires. I also enjoyed Michelle Radu and Stephanie O’Shea’s simple but highly effective and often amusing choreography.
The actors were all on the ball with great comic timing and a full understanding of the comedy they were performing. Alexander Thanosoulis was nicely petulant and moody as Arthur and as in his element as he argued with the French and the commune boss. Oliver Catton was the perfect foil for Arthur as the long-suffering Patsy. Damien Campagnola was brilliant as the over-gruff, bloodthirsty Lancelot and Lachlan Morris as Sir Robin, was the Cowardly Lion act on the court of Camelot.
I liked Ben Kasper’s Sir Galahad with is hilarious transition from earthy peasant to blonde-headed knight and top marks to Matthew Nisbet for his creation of several roles in which he showed a great range of vocal and comedic talent. I particularly liked the old woman who sounded remarkably like Brian’s mother from The Life of Brian! He is a very funny man.
Laura Fois was the Lady of he Lake and Guinevere and was given the chance to show off the huge range of her powerful voice, particularly with Come With Me and The Song That Goes Like This. Once again there was a lot of comedic talent on show.
The ensembles, male and female were superb and never missed a step. I watched great teamwork from excellent dancers and singers.
I advise any Monty Python fan to rush out and buy tickets. A musical of this quality at community theatre prices is not to be missed.