Monty Python’s Spamalot has been around for years and despite it being my first time seeing it, it feels incredibly fresh and foolishly funny.
I went into this show quite blind, having not seen any of the films, nor knowing anything about Monty Python. My only experience has been when the cast sang a couple of numbers at West End Live. So I didn’t know what to expect except that they’d probably be singing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
The production itself is bonkers, we are introduced to these crazy characters as the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the roundtable is told through farcical British humour. The narrative isn’t particularly strong but it’s about King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail and all the encounters they find along the way, such as Donald Trump, Taylor Swift and more. Worried the production may feel dated, the addition of these modern references were superb and had the audience howling with laughter.
As a huge musical theatre fan, I thought it was brilliant the way they mocked musicals. Whether it was King Arthur and the Lady of The Lake singing The Song That Goes Like This about those over-dramatic love songs that always sneak into a musical, or the mockery of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The highlight was You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz, a song all about how to make a musical and the necessity of having a ‘named star’, which is hilariously relevant with the current debate about stunt casting echoing across the industry.
Aside from the hilarious musical numbers, despite the script being piled with witty jokes and British sarcasm, the right kind of actor has to be able to pull it off. This cast is truly excellent as they bring pace and slick comedy timing to their dialogue. Bob Harms’ portrayal of King Arthur displays immense humour as he leads his Knights on an adventure without an inch of leadership skills.
Sarah Harlington takes on the role of the Lady of The Lake and her vocals are flawless. Blown away by her stellar voice, she oozes charisma and expression, particularly in her stand-out number Whatever Happened To My Part. Providing both talent and comedy, it’s easy to get lost in the show’s humour but she proves the talent and skill of the actors on stage.
Prince Herbert, the ‘damsel in distress’, played by Matthew Pennington is fabulously camp and when he is finally rescued from his tower by the butch Knight Sir Lancelot, they break out into a lavish and glamorous song and dance. With kick lines, jazz hands and sparkly pants, it is the epitome of a toe-tapping musical number that boasts all the production values.
Spamalot is an insane show that is brash, chaotic and pure madness but it is so well crafted it is rather brilliant. The extravagant characters, ridiculous comedy and high-scale musical numbers create two hours of hysterical fun – it’s a show that will make every musical theatre fan giggle.
On the Coventry Belgrade until the 3rd of March, tickets can be found online.