Spamalot at New Wimbledon Theatre – Review

SpamalotAnd now for something completely different!
Spamalot is not for the ‘overly sensible’, but for those with a love of Monty Python or anyone looking for a laugh, its vibrant, nonsensical and incongruent humour make it a show that should not be missed!

Spamalot is said to be a production ‘lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. In reality, it’s an adaptation by Python member Eric Idle which encompasses many of the Python’s well-loved gags and sketches from this and other works such as The Life of Brian and TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Directed by Daniel Buckroyd, Spamalot certainly capitalises on the nostalgia of the Python franchise, however far from relying solely on the heritage of the humour, the production breathes fresh life into a timeless piece with contemporary references and the occasional adlib!

I should probably declare at this point that I am a massive Python fan. Some would suggest this contributes a bias, however I would counter that it raises my expectations. Needless to say, if it’s not yet obvious, this overly protective critic was won over entirely!

From the incorporation of the infamous fish slapping dance, to the self-flagellating monks, the knights who say ‘Ni’ and the coconut horses, there is a clear love for the piece which emanates from the tight-knit company. The energy of show is infectious, and this is largely a result of the on-stage enthusiasm and ability of the company to play with the piece – indeed it’s clear they’re having just as much fun as we are!

The focus and commitment to character in the face of utter absurdity drives the humour home and Bob Harms does the late Graham Chapman proud in the role of King Arthur, without question. Likewise, in the role of Lancelot, Johnathan Tweedie emulates John Cleese’s comic timing with perfection and has the audience rolling in their seats during his portrayal of the French guard. Sarah Harlington’s exceptional vocals are testament to the talent present within the company, reminding us that amid the shrubberies and ‘very very round tables’ this is also a show brimming with talent and refined skill.

Spamalot is a raucous romp brimming with dancing clergy, killer rabbits and a whole lot of spam! Equal parts endearing frivolity and absurdist anarchy, it epitomises escapism and reminds us not to take life too seriously – after all, ‘life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true’.

I’m sure there will be those out there for whom the humour of the piece is totally lost or seen as insulting to intelligence. To those individuals – to quote John Cleese – “I fart in your general direction!” Monty Python have long been a pinnacle of British culture, and Buckroyd’s Spamalot is a distinctive reminder of why this continues to be the case.

5 Stars

Review by Cassandra Griffin

Funnier than the black death!
Lovingly ripped off from the hugely successful 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is a riotous comedy full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns and ferocious Frenchmen. Join King Arthur as he travels with his hapless Knights of the Round Table on a divine mission to locate the illusive Holy Grail – with uproarious consequences.

Winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best New Musical the hilarious Spamalot was written by Python legend Eric Idle, with a fantastic score co-written by John DuPrez including Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.

Produced by the award winning Selladoor Productions – producers of Footloose, American Idiot, Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors and Mercury Theatre Colchester, this brand new UK tour of Spamalot will have audiences rolling in the aisles.

New Wimbledon Theatre