Spamalot, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until May 27.
You’ll laughoutloudalot at Spamalot, a riotous musical based on the hit film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
This production by the Coventry Musical Theatre Society is breathtakingly ambitious, and they pull it off spectacularly.
Take brilliant performances by the large cast, excellent musical accompaniment and stunning scenery, stir in all the anarchic (often juvenile) Python humour, and you’ve got a triumph.
Python fans will know that the play, like the film, tells of King Arthur’s epic search for the Holy Grail which he believes will help him unite his fractured kingdom.
It’s a quest that brings the King and his brave knights up against such challenges as the Knights who say Ni! and the fearsome Black Knight who refuses to let Arthur pass, despite losing his limbs one by one in combat. And there’s the awesome Tim the Enchanter and his killer rabbit to contend with.
Along the way the guards at the French castle threaten to fart in the general direction of our heroes, Sir Lancelot turns out to be gay, brave Sir Robin regularly soils himself and his armour at the first sign of danger (I told you the humour was juvenile), and the team is challenged to stage a Broadway show.
Musicals don’t get much whackier. If you know the original film, and most of the audience seemed to, you’ll love it. If you don’t, you’ll still love it.
The terrific songs – I’m Not Dead Yet, The Song That Goes Like This and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, among them – are brilliantly staged and all the cast are excellent – but Anthony James who plays Arthur as a Captain Mainwaring-type character is outstanding and Emma Wylde as the diva-ish Lady of the Lake is stunning.
It’s hard to believe that this is an amateur production. It could hardly be more slick and professional. Congratulations to Coventry Musical Theatre Society and director Steve Boden for a great night at the Belgrade.
For tickets email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02476 553055.
Picture: Simon Coates Photography.