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Seattle by David-Edward Hughes

You'll Laugh a Lot at Monty Python's Spamalot
at the Paramount

Spamalot
Robert Petkoff, Patrick Heusinger, Anthony Holds, Christopher Gurr and Michael Siberry
The Monty Python groupies had a roaring good time at the opening night of the national tour of the 2005 Broadway Tony award-winning musical Spamalot, but they were not alone. Much like the warm reception Young Frankenstein was greeted with here, Eric Idle's stage adaptation of his and Python teammates' film Monty Python and the Holy Grail elicits consistent guffaws, thanks to veteran director Mike Nichols' assured touch, an accomplished, super high energy cast and Casey Nicholaw's comedy-tinged choreography.

A non-Python head (such as myself) who loves slapstick and satire can have a great time at Monty Python's Spamalot particularly because of the musical numbers. Eric Idle and John DuPrez' score abounds with tuneful, tongue in cheek numbers such as "Find Your Grail," "The Diva's Lament," "Always Look on the Bright Side" (reprised from Life of Brian) and best of all, perhaps, the Andrew Lloyd Webber skewering "The Song That Goes Like This."

The tale of King Arthur and his rag tag knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail is merely a hook to hang jokes upon, and it is a far jollier stay in Camelot than any production of the musical of that name, not to mention a more cohesive and faster paced one. Michael Siberry is an ideal Arthur, never overplaying the tomfoolery but always commanding, and he lends a very pleasant voice to his mock anthem, "I'm All Alone." Esther Stillwell (a slightly less zaftig look-alike for the role's originator Sara Ramirez) is a full-voiced beauty and fine comedienne as The Lady of the Lake, and her "Diva's Lament" is a total joy. Anthony Holds as Sir Galahad, Robert Petkoff as Sir Robin, and Jeff Dumas as Patsy all have buffoonery down to a science. Patrick Heusinger as Sir Lancelot and Christopher Sutton as Prince Herbert are really delicious; the plot twist that pairs them romantically is hysterical and leads into choreographer Nicolaw's most joyfully giddy production sequence.

Tim Hatley's set and costume design is like a children's book about the knights of olde come to life, accentuated by Hugh Vanstone's fine lighting design. Larry Hochman's orchestrations and Glen Kelly's music arrangements make each musical number ear candy, which couldn't be said for sundry sound issues at the Paramount on opening night.

With a run longer than most touring shows that come to the Paramount, Monty Python's Spamalot is likely to play to large and enthusiastic audiences, and it bloody well deserves to!

Monty Python's Spamalot runs through October 28 at the Paramount Theatre, 9th & Pine in downtown Seattle. For further information visit www.theparamount.com.


Photo: Joan Marcus



- David Edward Hughes



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