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Mad musical back on tour
A killer rabbit, dancing nuns, old crones and the search for the Holy Grail Monty Python must be in town! This updated version of Monty Python's Spamalot is a delight, with the 2005 Broadway original tweaked to include modern references for a 2017 audience.
Based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Spamalot musical was a major hit on both Broadway and in the West End. UK tours followed, introducing many to the clever wordplay and catchy tunes of Eric Idle and former Modern Romance member John du Prez.
This 2017 version of Spamalot, which is at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre till October 7, begins slowly with the Fisch Schlapping Dance, a gentle way to prepare the audience for the madness and very funny scenes - to come.
King Arthur (Bob Harms) is looking for recruits to join him in his quest to find the Holy Grail and what a motley selection he finds! Aided by his Baldrick-like page Patsy (Rhys Owen) he signs up Lancelot (Johnathan Tweedie), Galahad (Norton James), Bedevere (Marc Akinfolarin) and Robin (Stephen Arden) all keen to help but somewhat lacking in practical skills to fight the French and overcome other obstacles to completing their quest.
Deceased?: They're not dead yet!
After the scene setting, the song and dance number I Am Not Dead Yet gets the first major applause of the night. It's then one big number after another, The Lady of the Lake (a marvellous performance by Sarah Harlington) and The Song That Goes Like This being the highlights of the first act.
Marvellous: Sarah Harlington is The Lady of the Lake
It gets a bit pantomime in Act 2, with more audience interaction and appearances by 'Donald Trump', 'Harry Potter' and 'Ian McKellen' as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. There's also the killer rabbit, tins of Spam and an invitation for an audience member to join the cast on stage. And don't forget the mass singalong to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
Madcap: King Arthur and the Knights are sent on their quest
Ironically, one of the best numbers is You Won't Succeed in Showbiz which claims that a musical without star names won't be a hit. Well, this Spamalot has no soap actors or people from reality TV but there's not a weak link in the hard-working cast. All are excellent singers, each has great comic timing and most take on multiple roles. And for my money it's a hit all the way!
Until Oct 7: New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham; Oct 10 14: Empire, Sunderland; Oct 24 28: Northcott Theatre, Exeter; Oct 31 Nov 4: Storyhouse, Chester;
Nov 7 11: Palace, Manchester;
Nov 14 18: New Victoria Theatre, Woking;
Nov 21 25: New Theatre, Wimbledon;
Jan 16 20: Opera House, Buxton.