Tuesday, April 17, 2012

'Spamalot' - UK Touring Cast

Although I have seen a small number of Monty Python sketches in the past and found them funny, I cannot say I was ever a massive fan of the group. The bits of Life of Brian that I saw did not particularly engage me. I doubt I would have gone to see this show if it had not come to a theatre so close-by and if I had not gotten a discount ticket. So lucky that did happen.

Spamalot at Richmond Theatre
Performance: 7th April 2012 at 19:30
Seat: Centre Stalls, £15 discount ticket
Cast included: Steven Pacey (King Arthur), Bonnie Langford (The Lady of the Lake), Todd Carty (Patsy), Robin Armstrong (Sir Bedevere), Rob Delaney (Sir Robin), Adam Ellis (Prince Herbert/Historian), Kit Orton (Sir Lancelot), Jon Robyns (Sir Galahad)

Poster for the UK tour
For those of you who are not familiar with this musical, it is based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), it started previews in Chicago in 2004 before opening on Broadway the following year. It does not only parody the legend of King Arthur but also musicals on general. A sharp-eared audience member will spot some famous Monty Python lines as well as references to already existing musicals. Some of the lyrics had clearly been revised since the original production as there was even a reference to Susan Boyle (with a guy dressed as her running on stage).

The reason I found Spamalot funny was that it was so random. Having people lying on top of each other appearing to be dead suddenly get up and start an extremely upbeat song titled I Am Not Dead Yet is such an unexpected thing that you can't help laughing. Having a group called 'Knights who say Ni' (out of whom one is walking on stilts) who go around doing exactly that is, for some reason, very funny.
A special mention goes to Bonnie Langford as the Lady of the Lake. She acted the part absolutely brilliantly. Her rendition of The Diva's Lament (a.k.a. Whatever Happened to My Part?) was one of the most memorable moments of the show. (On a whole another note: I loved the blue, sparkly dress she was wearing.) Her and Steven Pacey singing The Song That Goes Like This was also hilarious. It basically broke down a standard love duet from a musical; it carried an unmistakable resemblance to The Phantom of the Opera.
Have a listen (and a watch because the acting is brilliant) of Christopher Sieber and Sara Ramirez (original Broadway cast) performing it. Subtitles available on this video by clicking the 'cc' button at the bottom:

And because I'm Finnish, I obviously have to put this in here as well ('Finland' song starts from 1:40):

The musical finished in a merry Always Look on the Bright Side of Life sing-along, which, I am sure the young woman next to me enjoyed especially since she was trying to join in when the actors performed the song the first time round... 
Anyway, I would go and see this musical again. It seems to be one of those constantly evolving ones not to mention that each new actor taking over a part would be adding their own touch to the character. This is what keeps it fresh and funny. 

For more information about the UK tour of Spamalothttp://www.spamalotontour.co.uk/


  1. Spamalot is never something i've particulary fancied but after watching some of these clips and reading a bit about it I might try and grab some tickets :)

    1. I was thinking exactly the same thing before seeing the show. The thing is, you just can't not laugh at it - it's too funny even if the storyline isn't that great when you start thinking about it.

  2. Thanks for the review! I went to see Spamalot for pretty much the same reasons as you did and similarly ended up enjoying it, to my slight surprise. As you said, the randomness of it is hilarious, and it's such a great feel-good-musical without still being brainless in the underestimating sense.

    I've only seen it in Hungary, though, and obviously they had had to change some details for Hungarians to get the jokes. The same theatre performs PotO, Cats and other such musicals, and Spamalot made quite a lot of fun over them by borrowing visuality and so on. E.g. The Song That Goes Like This was performed in Phantom's boat, with the candles surrounding it and all.

    1. The original 'Spamalot' is very culturally fixed so it's probably tremendous fun in other languages if translated and modified well. It really does need a good translation in order to work.

      I love it when musicals use things from other musicals. It always makes me laugh when I spot a reference to another show and I start thinking "God, I'm such a musical theatre geek". :P