Are some things in life looking really bad? Other things are making you really mad? Have a strong desire to swear and curse? True, it may seem like every news cycle brings more stress so the Cygnet Theatre in Old town invites you to “look on the bright side of life” with their wonderfully silly MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, playing through August 12th.
This Tony winning musical, based on the cult movie comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” (with some assists from “The Life of Brian”) dials up the silliness to brighten up a few hours of your day. Though it has sequins, show girls, tap dancing nights, and one show stopping Lady of the Lake, it may not be exactly the film you remember. Yet, it’s so silly, sarcastic, cheerfully bright and high energy that it’s really as Pythonesque as any fan could desire.
Sean Murray takes the crown as King Arthur who is crossing his country on a pretend steed gathering knights for his round table. Accompanied by his faithful page Patsy played by Jonathan Sangster, who carries all the supplies, and much of the King’s common sense (as well as the coconut sound effects for the pretend horse). As they gather knights they find that their quest gets more complicated as ridiculoussetbacks and hilarity ensue.
Murray makes Arthur his own with a self-assured authority in his divine right as King and in his quest; even in the face of those who question sovereignty based on “strange women lying in ponds distributing swords.” Sangster is highly entertaining as the devoted but put upon Patsy, who opens the second act with a delightful reminder to look on the “bright side of life.”
But what is a King without his knights?
David S. Humphrey is delightful as Sir Galahad, making the most of the literal word play and tossing those luscious locks of hair. James Saba is the cowardly Sir Robin, who wants to be a knight but unfortunately doesn’t want to fight. No worries, it turns out his Sir Robin has knowledge better than combat skills. He knows how to succeed on Broadway, knowledge which he entertainingly imparts to King Arthur in Act two.
Evan White is both macho and sensitive as the slightly murderous Lancelot who proudly declares who he is (once he figures it out) in a disco, Peter Allen inspired number. Anthony Methvin makes the most out of his Sir Bedevere, but really shines as Galahad’s mother as she questions this sovereign’s right to rule, as well as that famous Knight who says Ni.
Their journey takes them to Camelot, a Las Vegas inspired place full of showgirls and gambling. But what’s Vegas without a floor show? Christine Hewitt’s Lady of the Lake hilariously channels a vintage Liza performance before inspiring the knights to find their grail. Hewitt’s stand out number comes in the second act with her “Diva’s Lament” where she wonders why she’s been off stage so long and what exactly as become of this show?
Another stand out is Brian Banville who has excellent French taunting skills (“Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”) and then shifts into high comedic gear flitting around the stage as the gentle Prince Herbert.
This epic quest is supported by a fantastic ensemble, lovely costumes by Sarah Palmer Marion, wigs by Peter Herman, and set design by Sean Fanning. Projections by Blake McCarty, and musical direction by Terry O’Donnell are the cherries on top of this delightful sundae of silliness.
It is not necessary to be a Python fan to see this show, but this show is full of shrewd idiocy, enthusiastic energy, and festive delight that is sure to be a bright spot no matter when you decide to visit King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, is playing at the Cygnet Theatre through August 12th. For tickets and show times go to www.cygnettheatre.com