Spamalot – Bord Gais Energy Theatre – Review
Photos by Andy Carberry
23 Jan 2018 – 27 Jan 2018
The play starts in medieval England, and not Finland as some of the actors seem convinced! Once they manage to get the location right, we meet the main characters with King Arthur and his general dogsbody Patsy. He is trying to recruit knights for his round table and it is not long before they encounter two likely sorts in Sir Robin and Lancelot. After they have recruited sufficient members all they require is a quest. That is when God intervenes, quite literally, and sets them on their journey to find his most sacred item; the Holy Grail!
This play is based on the 1975 film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ but it is quite different from the original. They use many scenes from the film but have padded it out with songs (it is a musical after all) and some new material. The Book for the musical was written by Eric Idle, who was one of the founding members of Monty Python so no permission was required!
The musical was first performed on Broadway in 2005 and won three Tony Awards including Best Musical. This new tour is produced by Selladoor Productions and Mercury Theatre Colchester. The production does have an Irish cast member at its core with Fergal D’Arcy as Patsy. D’Arcy is best known as a DJ on Today FM. He also has a history on stage and seemed very comfortable amongst old hands such as Bob Harms (King Arthur) and Grace Eccle (Lady of the Lake).
The musical has its tongue firmly lodged in its cheek throughout with songs such as ‘The Song that goes like this’ and ‘Whatever Happened to my Part’ where one actress wonders why she is not on stage anymore! It is not a musical for purists of the art form and is aimed squarely at fans of the comedy group. On the night I saw the production there were a few issues with the sound, but these should be solved as the run continues. The play is a fun and irreverent production that is pure entertainment. As you would expect, it ends with Python’s most famous song ‘Always look on the bright side of Life’ from the Life of Brian and there can be no greater sing-along crowd pleaser.
Cast – Bob Harms, Grace Eccle, Fergal D’Arcy, Marc Akinfolarin, Norton James, Matthew Pennington and Gleanne Purcell-Brown.
Directed by Daniel Buckroyd
Designed by Sara Perks