News Column

Review: 'Spamalot' is summer's Holy Grail

June 7, 2014

By Claire Kowalick, Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas



June 07--Those on a quest for great summer entertainment will find it at Backdoor Theatre's "Monty Python's Spamalot."

The musical originally ran on Broadway in 2005, and is "lovingly ripped off" of the 1975 movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Fans of Monty Python and newcomers to British comedy will both find something to love with this show.

One of the actors in the movie, Eric Idle, said the title of the musical comes from a line in the movie that says, "we eat ham, and jam and Spam a lot," making a joke about British cuisine.

Set in the barbaric and plague-riddled Middle Ages, "Spamalot" takes the audience on a journey as King Arthur (played by Brandon Chase Irwin) and his faithful, yet unappreciated companion, Patsy (Jennica Lambert) set out to find valiant knights for his "very round table" so they can join together to find the Holy Grail.

Irwin and Lambert are a great comedy pair who play off each other well. Lambert has few lines, but her hilarious facial expressions tell the whole story without saying a word.

The show pokes fun at the Arthurian legend (along with poking fun at Finland, France, Broadway, Las Vegas, Christianity, Judaism and just about everything else.)

Emily Clements is a vocal performance major at Midwestern State University and has an amazing and powerful voice in her role as the Lady of the Lake (who is a bit of a cheeky diva.)

Clements manages amazing vocal talent and comedy at the same time. Her "Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part)" was outstanding.

David Cerreta was superb as the possibly homosexual Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter and Tim the Enchanter.

Greg Meisinger was a standout, literally and figuratively, as a very tall Sir Dennis Galahad and Price Herbert's Father.

The well-choreographed show flowed seemingly effortlessly from acting, to a dance number, to a song.

If there was a weak spot in the show, it would be that they seemed to use all their best material in the first act before the intermission and the laughs tapered off during the second segment of the show.

Fans of the original film will get a good laugh from familiar characters like Not-Dead Fred (Beau Dameron), the Black Knight (Bob Barrow) and the Knights Who Say Ni.

Some sound bites clipped from the original movie sprinkled throughout the show were a bit out of sync at times and seemed to detract from the show more than they added.

Diverging from the movie, the musical adds some great songs including, "The Song that Goes Like This," "Find Your Grail," "I'm All Alone," and "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," borrowed from the movie "Monty Python's Life of Brian."

Also new are the Laker Girls (Charlotte Dameron, Katelynn Grace Meeks, Alexys Maxwell, Maddison Gould-Chaddock) who manage to be beautiful, funny and keep a smile on their faces through numerous dance numbers and costume changes.

The cast makes full use of the stage and takes advantage of space by journeying through the audience at times.

Director Michael Sherry should be proud of his well-chosen and highly talented cast.

Live theater is difficult enough, but to act, dance, sing and be funny is a monumental task "Spamalot" accomplishes valiantly.

The show has some coarse language, sexual humor and battle scenes, so it is not recommended for children younger than 12.

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(c)2014 the Times Record News (Wichita Fallas, Texas)

Visit the Times Record News (Wichita Fallas, Texas) at www.timesrecordnews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Wichita Falls Times Record News (TX)


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