Monday, July 2, 2018

“Spamalot” Rocks Cygnet’s House With Frolicking Fun.

Oh, the irreverence of it all. The mockery of it all. The cleverness of it all. The deliciousness of it all. The fun of it all.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot”, ‘a kooky musical (lovingly) ripped off from the motion picture “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is a kick and a hoot as staged by Sean Murray, artistic director, director and King Arthur for a little over month as he clip clop’s through countryside in search of the Holy Grail.  

Eric Idle is responsible for the book. Music is by John Du Prez and Eric Idle. In case you are not a follower of Monty Python, it is a sinfully hilarious spoof on the legend of King Arthur and the Holy Grail or The Vessel as the king calls it, where nothing is sacred. 

When “Spamalot” came on the Broadway scene in 2005 it carried away three Tony Awards including Best Musical of the 2004-2005 season. It’s rarely done here; I’ve only seen a few other productions and lo and behold, Murray a man of many hats/crowns is now two for two. What does that tell you? No? Well, figure it out.
Jonathan Sangster and Sean Murray
The usual suspects in this LOL bad assed comedy include: King Arthur (Murray) whose God given mission is to find the Holy Grail, the inept and wide eyed Sir Lancelot (Evan White), Lady of the Lake aka Guinevere (Christine Hewitt), Sir Robin/Brother Maynard, etc. (James Saba), Prince Herbert/ Drop Dead Fred/The French Taunter (Brian Banville), Sir Galahad/Black Night (David S. Humphrey) and of course Patsy (Jonathan Sangster) Arthur’s hapless man servant clopping away at his two coconut shell sound effects.

Then there’s a killer bunny; one’s a puppet and one a carved out wooden look alike, an historian  (Banville), the knights who say Ni, (Anthony Methvin towering over everyone and sporting a headdress with antlers and Viking crown) and cutout feet of God, along with the oblivious to everything Ni knights themselves.
Evan White, David S. Humphrey, Sean Murray, Christine Hewitt, James Saba, Anthony Methvin
Choreographer/ Ass. Director Katie Banville does wonders moving the cast about on Cygnet’s relatively small stage, which is some fete. Live music under the musical direction of Terry O’Donnell and his five -piece -band hidden in the rafters (?) add an extra element of enjoyment and depth to a relatively depth-less or what you see is what you get, musical.

This two-hour plus show that has all the elements of appeal to those who love low brow, crass humor, fart jokes (not my favorite) and pokes fun at sacred cow prized theatre pieces.

A takeoff on “Fiddler on the Roof” (the bottle dance with Holy Grails instead of bottles), “The Producers”, Andrew Lloyd Weber and lots of Las Vegas ritzy, glitz dancers from the Excalibur resort are thrown in. A bevy of other hoofers looking as they are from Norway, Ireland and you name it OY! make up the female ensemble although I thought I spotted... well never mind.
David S. humphrey and Christine Hewitt
Sean Murray’s Arthur is just conceited enough to tally a few smirks but he is one of the few, if not the only one on stage in a perpetual quest for the grail, but perpetually running into roadblocks for, among other things, a small shrub in a ‘very dark and expensive forest’ or knights for his Round Table.

For reasons you will learn later, Jews. What else is new? (“You Won’t Succeed on Broadway”). It’s a great production number that goes on and on and on and on starring Sir Robin (Saba has never been seen as so funny trying to play it straight) and the excellent ensemble.

I can’t say enough about Christine Hewitt as The Lady of the Lake, although she would complain that she didn’t get equal stage time (running joke) as say Arthur. (“A Divas Lament”)

Her strong presence as well a full voice lends just I the right amount of balance to the overcrowded assemblage of testosterone on stage designed by Sean Fanning. She holds her own very nicely and looks great in Sara Palmer Marion’s costumes.
Anthony Methvin, Sean Murray, Jonathan Sangster, Trevor Cruse, James Saba, and Donnie Gersonde
Everything moves at a rapid pace including Chris Rynne’s lighting, Blake McCarty’s great projections, costume and wig changes (Peter Herman) are made faster than you can say holy grail, Bonnie Durbin’s designed the dismembering of The Black Night’s (David S. Humphrey) arms and legs ('Alms For The Poor') body armor in one hilarious sword swing after another. It’s all too loopy not to enjoy.

It’s more than enough fun to muster a few belly laughs and marvel, if you are a fan of Monty Python, at the insaneness of the creators and how spot on their spoofing is.

If you loved “Camelot”, you might not be a candidate for “Monty Python’s Holy Grail” since it makes a mockery of the entire King Arthur and his Round Table Legend. But Oh! It is fun.

Any show that ends in a sing-a-long, “You Are My Sunshine”… oops, “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” can’t be all that tacky. Right?

See you at the theatre.

Dates: Through Aug. 5th
Organization: Cygnet Theatre Company
Phone: 619337-1525
Production Type: Comedy
Where: 4040 Twiggs St. San Diego, CA 92110
Ticket Prices: Start at $35.00
Venue: Theatre in Old Town
Photo: Ken Jaques


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