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March 11, 2014 > Theatre Review: Spamalot - a musical on the bright side of life!

Theatre Review: Spamalot - a musical on the bright side of life!

By Janet Grant

Is life getting you down? Maybe youÕre feeling a little blue?

Why not look on the bright side of life, and get yourself over to Stage 1 TheatreÕs delightfully daft musical, ÒMonty PythonÕs Spamalot,Ó directed by Troy Johnson.

Adapted largely from the 1975 film, ÒMonty Python and the Holy GrailÓ with screenplay by Eric Idle who also co-wrote the score by John Du Prez, the musical takes Camelot and makes a mash-up with a Las Vegas review and other Broadway productions.

And with all things Monty Python, nothing is too sacred to touch as the Arthurian legend is skewered through with killer rabbits, taunting Frenchmen, a very cranky disembodied Supreme Being, and a gay Sir Lancelot.

Set in early Middle Age Britain, Spamalot somehow manages to make you laugh at historical horrors such as barbarous warfare and the Black Death. But then how can you help yourself with such gleeful tunes as, ÒHe is Not Dead YetÓ and ÒBrave Sir RobinÓ?

Spamalot has quite a number of things happening on stage from large ensemble numbers, to ever-changing castle trips, and even a jaunt through a very expensive forest. The set designers and crew did a marvelous job of visually moving you seamlessly through the different locales while the cast spectacularly and with zany abandon, created pure madcap entertainment.

Robert Sholty was appealing as the stalwart King Arthur and played well off of Ray DÕAmbrosio as the loyal steward, Patsy. Mr. DÕAmbrosio is especially engaging, tapping and singing ÒAlways Look on the Bright Side of Life,Ó to the despondent King.

Morgan Dayley as the Lady of the Lake was quite effective in filling her role as part pure, part tart, but always a diva! She was hilarious in the "The Song That Goes Like This," paired with the preening hero, Sir Galahad, portrayed by the talented Josh Milbourne.

Jonathan Ferro as genial but cowardly Sir Robin was comical with his easy-to-frighten antics and song where he tries to convey the importance of always including Jews in Broadway musicals.

Dane Lentz, like so many other members of the cast, plays multiple roles including the brave, romantic, and totally out of the closet Sir Lancelot, as well as my favorite, the Knight of Ni.

Chris Ciabattoni was appealing as the ethereal, flouncy, song loving Prince Herbert, as well as the absent minded Historian and poor, Not Dead Fred.

Scott Hall was equally believable as Sir Bedevere and Dennis GalahadÕs mother but was especially liked by the audience for his portrayal of Concorde the Horse - the plucky and wounded loyal steed.

Irreverent and gag-laden fun, Stage 1 TheatreÕs Spamalot offers up raucous laughter and surreal adventure, wink wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean? From the opening fish slapping number to the continued clip-clopping of horseÕs hooves, a la banging coconuts, Spamalot promises no worries - just a night with really silly and quite absurd but truly familiar old friends.


Spamalot
Through Mar 23
Fridays & Saturdays: 8:00 p.m. (Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.)
Stage 1 Theatre
Newark Memorial High School Theater
39375 Cedar Blvd, Newark.
www.stage1theatre.org
Tickets: $12 - $24

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