Director: Christopher Luscombe
Writer: Eric Idle and John du Prez
Reviewer: Cavelle Leigh
Spamalothas much hype to live up to. For those my age, Monty Python means little more than then the ministry of silly walks and one of those cults you have to pretend to like to sound cool and/or intelligent and/or to impress your dad. However, this production, veering very little from the original screenplay by Eric Idle is, as it turns out, a jolly good crowd pleaser.
From the beginning it is laugh-out-loud as we are presented with a rather grim weather forecast about contemporary Britain. Joe Pasquale is lovable as King Arthur though his voice projection rather weak, with Todd Carty (yes, Mark from Eastenders) perfectly enthusiastic as his long-suffering sidekick Patsy. On a seemingly futile quest they go, to enlist knights to their round table. Bring failure they may, but laughter too, as they dance, jest and ignite that infectious comedy.
Early on we’re presented with comedy typical of the Pythons in He is not dead yet about a man, who, you guessed it, is not dead yet. The Pythons were revered for their, sometimes too consciously, intelligent humour. Though inaccessible to some, it was brilliant and timeless to others. Some of the production missed, but when it hit, boy it did!
An unexpected star of the show is Sarah Earnshaw who can only be described as bloody brilliant in every part she played. The Song That Goes Like This performed with Richard Meek, is a brilliant parody of romance us cynics are repulsed by, while her solo of Find Your Grailis better still. Perfectly, without arrogance, she mocks divas who demonstrate both their dramatic and vocal range to no avail, all the while proving that she can give them all a run for their money.
Towards the close of the first act King Arthur finds himself in a hostile France, in a scene disappointingly juvenile with few laughs. Unfortunately this, as already proven, could have been funnier than toilet humour; that is, jokes about farts, though it was none-the-less mildly amusing.
The second act includesAlways Look On The Bright Side Of Life… introduced by Todd Carty as Patsy. The song can’t fail to raise a smile, and reprised at the end, one realises, could’ve been delayed until then. It would have been wonderful to see the whole audience, encouraged by the cast, on their feet singing out loud to a tune we all know like the back of our hands – even the young ‘uns surely.
The whole show is cartoonish, slapstick and utterly ridiculous – everything you’d expect and want from Monty Python. If you’re looking for high-brow satire, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for ‘random’ and belly laughs, some familiar, look here.
Some of the jokes (those about queens and homosexuality) appear dated but others, for their sheer absurdity, may never falter. Kudos too for efforts to make some of the script relevant to the here and now – jokes about Cheryl Cole and Katie Hopkins may not impress the old faithful, but if it makes the Pythons resonate as much today as yesterday, who’s complaining? To summarise; uniqueness and oft bent-double hilarity.