Brisbane review - Monty Python’s Spamalot: uproariously entertaining
By David Wilson
Monty Python’s Spamalot
Book and Lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle
Director Shaun McCallum
Musical Director Julie Whiting
Choreographer Maureen Bowra
Assistant Director Jasmin Flynn
Brought to you by Paterson Productions
Twelfth Night Theatre
Tickets can be purchased now and start from $39.90. Season runs until 26 November 2023.
Based on the very popular 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Phython’s Spamalot hilariously parodies King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail. In the hands of a first class creative team, and featuring a fabulously talented cast, Paterson Productions has absolutely hit it out of the park in their inaugural production.
This production perfectly captured all the irreverent, silly, camp, and zany qualities that Spamalot is famous for, while also managing to keep it fresh with clever references throughout to current times, places and people. The animated audience was totally engaged from the outset and was as appreciative an audience as I have heard in some time.
Considering the scale of Spamalot, what Director Shaun McCallum and Choreographer Maureen Bowra have achieved with this production is outstanding. Add to that the quality orchestra lead by the always excellent Julie Whiting and a truly fabulous cast and it is little wonder the audience was enraptured.
Speaking of the cast, this production of Spamalot really is an ensemble piece, with almost the entire cast playing multiple parts. Special mention must be made of the fabulous dancers - rarely is dancing of this calibre seen in independent community theatre in Brisbane.
Patrick Oxley was fabulous as King Arthur. His stage presence and general gravitas were on full display, as were his always strong vocals. Having had the pleasure of seeing Oxley perform in more serious roles, it was wonderful to see him so comfortably embrace comedy. He is a consummate performer.
Jessica Papst was outstanding as the Lady of The Lake. Papst went full-diva in the best of ways and the audience adored her. Her appropriately over the top characterisation was on point, and her extremely versatile vocals were outstanding throughout, perhaps best showcased in “The Song That Goes Like This” and “Find Your Grail”.
Jake Lyle transformed from Dennis the mud-gatherer into a very dashing Sir Galahad with a little help from the Lady of the Lake and her lovely Lake Girls. Lyle’s vocals and characterisation were excellent, and his versatility was apparent through his coverage of multiple roles including the Black Night and also Prince Herbert’s Father, showcasing some excellent accent work and great comedic timing.
James Lennox was a standout as Sir Lancelot, the fearless knight who ultimately embraces his feminine side. Lennox was great throughout, and his on stage dynamic with Christopher Batkin’s Prince Herbert was excellent. Lennox’s hilarious portrayal of the French Taunter was full throttle, and his excellent comedic delivery was also on show through Lancelot’s dealings with Lyle’s character Prince Herbert’s Father. It was fabulous to see the cast having as much fun as the audience.
Sam Caruana was great as the ironically named Brave Sir Robin. With excellent vocals, characterisation and dancing, Caruana’s larger than life portrayal was spot on. His brief stint as Brother Maynard was also hilarious.
Joan Camuglia-May did an excellent job with characterisation of the fairly inept Sir Belvedere. She was also particularly hilarious as Dennis Galahad’s Mother, with her comedic timing showcased through her interactions with King Arthur.
Christopher Batkin played the stuffy, very British historian to a tee, while his portrayal of Prince Herbert, the hopeful and frilly prince trapped in a tower with lovely curtains, was fantastic.
David McLaughlin was brilliant as Patsy, King Arthur’s ‘horse’ and under appreciated servant. He was excellent throughout the entire performance, and his performance of the iconic “Bright Side of Life” was perfect, with full audience sing-a-long. Sensational.
Across the board this is a very strong cast, including excellent dancers, in the hands of an experienced, quality creative team. This production of Spamalot is uproariously entertaining and I thoroughly encourage you to see it.