ComedyMusicalReviewSouth West

Spamalot – Northcott Theatre, Exeter

Writer: Eric Idle

Composer: John Du Prez and Eric Idle

Director: Daniel Buckroyd 

Reviewer: Marina Spark

Selladoor Worldwide is currently on tour with its production of Monty Python’s Spamalot and the show is the perfect antidote to those gloomy autumn evenings. This production captures the spirit and flavour of Monty Python, while cheekily updating the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the contemporary audience.

The set design by Sara Perks is deliciously true to the styling of Monty Python. The quirky, abstract, cartoon quality leaves the audience in no doubt that this is a production based on the works of the surreal comedy group. The set also helps to send up the genre of musical theatre; something that this production does with superb ease. The technical aspects of the production are on the whole effective. There are, however, a few lighting and sound glitches that can’t be passed off as farcical. Sadly these detract a little but not enough to take away from the fun. Once the production has settled into its current venue, the Exeter Northcott Theatre, those glitches will almost certainly be ironed out. 

The cast is without exception superb. Each performer is not only talented but has also clearly studied and captured the essence of Monty Python. Particular note must go to Sarah Harlington, who plays the Lady of the Lake. Harlington epitomises the west end diva, combining phenomenal vocals with a dominating stage presence.

King Arthur is played by the charismatic Bob Harms. Harms’ performance as the straight man is understated and commanding. Harms’ partnership with Rhys Owens, who plays Patsy, is a joy to watch and truly entertaining. Owens gives the downtrodden sidekick a voice and endears himself to the audience.

A number of the performers play multi roles. The definition and distinction of their various characters is a testament to their skills as performers. In particular, Matthew Pennington and Johnathan Tweedie deliver distinct and iconic characters.

The choreography by Ashley Nottingham combines dance with physical comedy. The physical comedy, combined with the performers’ excellent timing, creates a visual delight. Perks’ costumes assist with the spectacle and are impressively true to the original film.

This is a face-achingly funny production of the infamous Monty Python musical. Fans of Monty Python and the genre of musical theatre will love it, as will anyone else looking for an evening of silly irreverent humour.

Runs until 27 October 2017  Image: Barry Rivett

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Cheeky & Hilarious

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