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The second opening at this season’s Stratford Festival is the irrepressible Monty Python’s Spamalot. The show has been around for almost twenty years and has been performed around the world. Its reception at the Avon Theatre in Stratford was so uproarious and enthusiastic, it seemed as if everyone in the audience knew and loved the show by heart.

Spamalot does not fit into any one category. It is a spoof or parody of Arthurian England and the search for the Holy Grail but that is only the beginning. It has some intricate and demanding dance routines, and it takes on religion, Broadway, gay and straight marriages, and a host of other subjects with speed, wit and always with music.

It has such a forward impetus that I found it hard to follow at times, but it has one of those nearly legendary grips on its audience that people roar, scream and are bound to every move on the stage. A miraculous flow of energy from the stage to the audience and back.

Forget Lerner and Lowe’s Camelot. Spamalot’s King Arthur (Jonathan Goad), accompanied by his servant Patsy (Eddy Glen), travels on horseback looking for knights for the Round Table.  But horses on the stage present insurmountable problems so Patsy cracks two coconuts representing horses’ hooves at various speeds.

The absurdist, hilarious spoofs continue coming. We meet Sir Robin (Trevor Patt) who is hauling victims of the plague on a cart. Lancelot (Aaron Krohn) wants to load the sick Not Dead Yet (McKinley Knuckle) on the cart. The latter yells that he is not dead yet. The hilarious argument ensues until Lancelot bangs Not Dead Yet on the head with a shovel making sure that he is dead.
King Arthur insists that he is the King of the Britons by virtue of the Lady of the Lake giving him the sword Excalibur as the most worthy man to rule Britain. Dennis Galahad (Liam Tobin) and his mother Mrs. Galahad (Aidan deSalaiz) dispute that claim on modern socialist and democratic and constitutional principles. Hilarious.
Arthur manages to round up five knights for his Round Table and, as commanded by God, they are all set out in search of the Holy Grail. They encounter the nasty French and decide to counterattack using the ancient Greek ruse of the Trojan Horse. They use a Wooden Rabbit with one small error – no one is in the rabbit when the French discover it.
Spamalot is no respecter of anyone. The Knights (never mind who they are), want the show to go to Broadway – the one in England, not New York. But please no Andrew Lloyd Webber (huge roar of laughter from the audience). For Broadway we need Jews and something like Fiddler on the Roof. Let’s hear some sample numbers from it.
This short description of some of the sketches does not do justice to the speed, acrobatics, the humour and the singing and dancing by the talented cast. They create energy and carry the audience with them on a joyful trip. The songs are vigorous, enthusiastic, varied, and delightful. The characters are dim which makes for easy humour in a show that mercilessly satirizes everything past, present and future, say one thousand years in the future. Most of the actors play multiple roles with ease.
This unabashed entertainment is directed by Lezlie Wade and Choreographed by Jesse Robb. More credits below.
In the end, the satire, the parodies, the spoofs, the songs, the dances, and the acrobatics provide pure fun.
Monty Python’s Spamalot, book and lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, ripped off from the movie MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, from the  original screenplay by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin opened on May 31 and will continue until October 28, 2023 at the Avon Theatre, Stratford,  Ontario.

June 9, 2023
Cultural - Κριτική Καλών Τεχνών

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