The 2005 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Spamalot is “ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, and that’s a terrific recommendation. Monty Python fans (and who isn’t?) rejoice. Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin created the film and Eric Idle, book, music and lyrics and John Du Prez, music, put the adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table downstage center.
David Arisco, Actors’ Playhouse artistic director, has a terrific sense of humor and it’s evident in his casting and directing of Spamalot. Lindsey Forgey as The Lady of the Lake? Brilliant. She could laugh the pants off a one legged funeral director. Jose Luaces as Historian, Not Dead Fred, French Guard, Minstrel and Price Herbert? I’m still laughing. And check out his flailing dance moves. Paul Louis as Mayor, Patsy and Guard 2? The subservient servant who casually steals the joint blind. Gabriel Zenone as Sir Robin, Guard 1, Brother Maynard? Perfectly cast and charmingly cowardly. Shane Tanner as Sir Dennis Galahad, The Black Knight, Prince Herbert’s Father? He and Lindsey Forgey singing The Song That Goes Like This are the stuff of musical comedy. Jim Ballard as Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter, Knight of Ni, Tim the Enchanter and Wayne LeGette as Dennis’s Mother, Sir Bedever the Strangely Flatulent, Concord? These two win awards just by walking on stage. Gary Marachek as King Arthur? A nice voice but tends to play the house and broke up mid scene.
The plot? Ah. King Arthur gets the sword Excalibur from the Lake, God tells him to find The Holy Grail and Arthur scours the English countryside seeking knights to help him in his quest. Best thing would be to NetFlix the movie. But see the show first; that’s where you’ll find the twenty terrific songs, the musical direction by David Nagy, and the choreography by Ron Hutchens. And rude Frenchmen and dead cows.
The excellent band: Musical Director and Keyboard 1, David Nagy; Keyboard 11, Karen Nagy; Bass, Rupert Ziawinski; Drums, Brian Sayre; Woodwinds, Andrea Gilbert; Trumpet, Chas Reskin; Trombone, Jason Pyle; French Horn, Stanley Spinola.
David Arisco cast twenty fine actors into medieval, mud filled, bring out your dead England and we got a supremely silly great singing, great dancing evening filled with gorgeous girls, handsome knights, chorus lines, rabid rabbits, invisible horses, love lorn blond princes locked in towers, bloody battles and idiocy rampant. I loved it. Silly Rules.
Monty Python’s Spamalot plays through March 30 at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theater, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-4181 www.actorsplayhouse.org