Monty Python Devotee or Not, Spamalot is Raucous Fun
Lawrance Bernabo, Duluth News Tribune
September 13, 2013
Those who only watched PBS for “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” back in the day will have a big advantage over those who did not in watching the raucous production of Spamalot that opened Thursday night at the Duluth Playhouse. The musical was “lovingly ripped off” from the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
That is because director Priscilla McRoberts and her cast have thrown in oblique references and outright homages to seminal works in the Python oeuvre throughout the show. This starts with the scenic design by Curtis Phillips, which owes much to the artwork of Terry Gilliam (by way of Salvador Dali), and the curtain speech, which manages to invoke the spirit (as well as the letters) of the subtitled opening credits of the movie.
This is not to suggest you need to be a Monty Python fanatic to enjoy this show. My wife, who thinks she might possibly have seen some parts of the movie at some time in the past history of the planet, laughed more than I did. And louder, too.
As King Arthur, Chris Nollet is relegated to playing straight man to his wacky castmates, although he can be disarming when needs be, and he sings the drolly ironic “I’m Not Alone” in Act 2. Most of the cast members play multiple parts, and part of the fun is picking out which of their characters had their best moment: Kyle McMillian getting a big laugh as the silent but silly Guard No. 1, Mike Pederson as the horizontal Concorde, and David Greenberg as the fearsome Black Knight.
Scott Hebert has an especially nice turn as Herbert’s father; Matthew Smith will be remembered most as Prince Herbert, and Alec Schroeder’s daft drummer in Sir Robin’s merry band of minstrels is strangely compelling. Greg J. Anderson has some great moments as an argumentative ornithological expert and Brother Maynard reading from the Holy Book of Armaments, but especially as the dumbest guard to be found in merry olde England.
Two performances in the Spamalot constellation burn even brighter. As the Lady of the Lake, Sara Wabrowetz milks the songs she belts out like she has to give her voice back at midnight and pay a severe penalty for any and all unused notes. Wabrowetz throws in not only her voice, with its expansive range, but also her entire face, down to the back of her eye sockets in these songs. You have to be impressed.
Then there is Nate St. Germain, who gets a leg up in the laugh department by virtue of playing the hysterical French Taunter. On top of that he also plays both the Knight of Ni and Tim the Enchanter, plus he storms the Swamp Castle and does a pelvic thrust that will drive you insane as Lancelot. Rarely do you get to see someone steal a show from himself, but that pretty much is what St. Germain did on opening night of Spamalot.
Spamalot opens with the Historian (Matthew Smith) introducing the setting of the musical with off-topic subtitles in the background involving llamas to a moderately entertaining effect, very similar to the credits of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, upon which the musical is (loosely) based. While there are references to the original movie in this musical, for the most part it is more of an alternative telling to the movie than anything.
The positives to the production were many, with Chris Nollet playing a fabulous King Arthur that could have came straight out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Placed side-by-side with the movie, one would be hard-pressed to tell Chriss Nollet and Graham Chapman apart. Similarly, Nate St. Germain aced the role of the lead Knight of Ni who had the perfect voice for the part. Sara Wabrowetz (Lady of the Lake) was another bright star among the constellation of the cast, whose singing voice was easily the best part of the musical. The set design was very well constructed, and despite one of the actors nudging a tree so it wobbled a bit, the set was very nice to look at. There were multiple times where the actors on stage would run out of the auditorium which created an atmosphere which made the audience feel as though they were actually in the production, also helped by the final clue in the cast's quest to find the grail. The song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" fit well in the musical despite it originally appearing in another Monty Python movie, The Life of Brian.
Unfortunately, there were some downsides of the production, although these were minor. Most noticeable were some timing issues, like when the head-smacking Latin monks came out at the beginning of the musical. To avoid self-harm, the smacking noises were played over the sound system and the actors had to mime hitting themselves, but some of the actor's timing was off, like they hadn't practiced what should have been an extremely easy part in the musical. When the Laker Girls (Dani Stock, Sara Marie Sorenson, Angela Shields, Amy Koivisto, Erin Blazevic, Kendra Carlson) were circling around Sara Wabrowetz with their leaves, they were clearly making an attempt to be silent while doing it but scuffing shoe sounds could still be heard. Some actors seemed to have trouble making their voices heard over the music or other cast members, with Herbert's (Matthew Smith) main song and during Robin's (Greg J. Anderson) song about theatre.
Monty Pythons Spamalot is a parody of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is an amazing musical comedy that is silly, it makes the audiences roar with laughter. It’s a little ridiculous, the good kind that is. It’s won three Tony awards and has had many productions which gives it a history of being an excellent show.
The stage was set up spectacularly for the show, and had a stunning design for each scene. The painting on the set pieces were skillfully painted so that with the shine of perfectly placed lights it showed off all the details and carefully placed brushstrokes on each piece. Not only was the set marvelous and beautiful to the eye, but the costumes that the actors and actresses wore were creative, well made, and related to the story. A unique feature that was incorporated into this show was the projector and the screen. The llama subtitles, the clouds, and god really helped with some of the visuals. The lights they used to indicate that there was a storm going on were really realistic and added a wonderful aspect to the show. The placements of the lights went along smoothly with the show and was never distracting or off while the sound was at the perfect volume for every scene. There were a few places where the volume was not turned up for the character speaking before they started to talk or sing.
The actors did an incredible job in capturing the attention of everyone present. Sara Wabrowetz played the part of the Lady of the Lake like it wasn’t just a part she auditioned for in another play. It didn’t seem like she was even acting, but that she was actually the Lady of the Lake. Her voice filled the whole area with tremendous, but beautiful accurate notes giving goose bumps to those listening. Nate St. Germain was also a stand out actor in this show. He made each character unique and memorable, his characters were Lancelot, Knight of Ni, French Taunter, and Tim the Enchanter. When each of these characters showed up on stage they appeared to be four different actors in those costumes. Although there seemed to be timing problems with the monks hitting their heads on the tablets and the overhead sound of what it would sound like if they really hit there heads on tablets, was it really timing problems or more silliness? It all depends on the viewer.
The play is definitely worth seeing, because it’s flawless from the design of the set, costumes, props, lighting, and sound to the way the actors excellently portrayed each and every single character in the show. Although, there was obvious improvising in parts of the show, but it fit in perfectly and made the audience burst into laughter. With the silly humor, impressive acting skills and technical support this show rounded out to be an amazing experience.
The Duluth Playhouse’s opening night production of the 2004 musical Spamalot was both familiar and unique to the audience. “Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python: Search for the Holy Grail, the Playhouse production was more than just a stage retelling of the film classic. Spamalot expands on the film with new characters, new music and new shenanigans. For Monty Python fans, the production provides both the familiar and the new. For audience members who may have never seen the original Search for the Holy Grail film, Spamalot can stand on it’s own as a hugely funny parody of the whole King Arthur genre.
The Duluth Playhouse actors brought their own creativity to the show, keeping it familiar and still fresh. The cast remained true to the established personalities of the characters they played. Several supporting actors gave strong performances that went beyond what was established in the film roles. Nate St. Germain’s portrayal of the infamous French Taunter was exceptionally funny in accent and presentation. He brought the French Taunter to life in true Monty Python spirit. Kyle McMillan was also hugely entertaining to watch as King Arthur’s trusted manservant, Patsy. Everything about his performance was over the top without distracting from the story or the main actors. His interactions with King Arthur were sharp and witty, while also sharing the familiarity between the two of them with the rest of the audience. The Lady of Lake, as played by Sara Wabrowetz, was the obnoxious diva personified. Her vocal work and body language used in her performance definitely made the character. The individual flair these actors brought to their characters made this production of Spamalot all the more campy and funny.
A major contributor in creating the rambunctious feeling of Spamalot was the 11 member pit orchestra. The musical numbers are bombastic in nature and the orchestra provided the rowdiness and absurdest trends characteristic of Monty Python. Each musician played like ten musicians to great effect and the small size of the group would go completely unnoticed unless you looked at the playbill. Always Look at the Bright Side of Life was a hummable tune that probably followed the audience home.
The set designs and costumes were unique while portraying the familiar Monty Python appearance. The design of Prince Herbert’s palace was particularly clever. The narrow spiral staircase had the actors stumbling to the balcony at the top while maintaing their witty commentary which was hugely entertaining to watch. Camelot, along with the surrounding towers, gave the show an interesting dynamic that allowed more room for the characters to interact off center stage. King Arthur also wore the same garb from the film, along with all of the other major characters known from the film. The Knights of Ni in particular had an interesting appearance, the head knight (also played by Nate St. Germain) appearing to walk around on an impressive set of stilts!
All in all, the Duluth Playhouse version of Monty Python’s Spamalot was a fun and entertaining production with strong and balanced performances by all involved. The sets were cleverly constructed, the music was loud and proud, and the costumes were true to character and the Monty Python style. the music was Veteran Python fans got a good laugh from the familiar humor that made the comedy group famous, while newcomers experienced the absurd, obnoxious humor for the first time.
The Duluth Playhouse production of Monty Python's Spamalot (directed by Priscilla McRoberts) is the Musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The Playhouse says the show is "Lovingly ripped off" from the 1975 movie version. This show has the audience laughing at its quirky sense of humor from start to finish.
The cast and crew of Spamalot did a wonderful job of making the show funny and entertaining as they sang, danced, and acted out this light-hearted story of King Arthur, played well by Chris Nollet, and his quest to find the Holy Grail. King Arthur meets the other characters on his quest that are just as entertaining as he is with each witty encounter. The Lady of the Lake, Sara Wabrowetz filled the theater with her big voice with the help of the talented orchestra members who were not visible to the audience off stage right. Patsy, played by Kyle McMillan, was a very funny character delivering his lines as he clapped coconuts together for King Arthur’s horse.
The music was mostly upbeat with comical lyrics that strengthened the story line. Crowd favorites included “He’s Not Dead Yet” and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. The cast sang and danced with great energy that kept the audience engaged. The set went along with the wonderfully quirky theme of the show that Monty Python is known for. Two castle towers stood at both sides of the stage while the center set was changing with the scenes. The Spamalot cast used the set as they utilized all areas of the stage including areas off the stage and in the audience as well. The cast even gave one lucky member of the audience the chance to come up on stage and be a part of the show!
The costumes, designed by Sasha Howell and assistant costume designer Dianne Pellegrini, worked well for the time era and for defining the characters role and personalities. It was easy to distinguish who was a person of royalty, with matching fabric and shining jewels incorporated into their wardrobe, or someone of the lower class with dirt on their faces and patched clothing. There were also some “non-human” characters, woodland creatures, creating a very large variety of costumes. A wardrobe malfunction for David Greenberg as the Black night, who also played Dennis, made the audience laugh even harder when his legs and arms didn’t fall off quite properly during a battle scene with King Arthur.
The Duluth Playhouse cast and crew did a great job with this show. The energy was high and the actors portrayed their characters extremely well. The humoristic insults, dialog, and story line make Spamalot a production worth seeing.
Whether consciously or not, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has been embedded into our brains in one form or another. Maybe we spent night after night watching the movie and TV series with our friends, reciting the various lines throughout the day in seemingly normal conversation, only to end up laughing our heads off at something and any “normal” person would have thought we had gone mad. Maybe we were the “normal” ones that got fed up with not knowing why “‘tis but a scratch” is literally rolling-on-the-floor funny, and we decided to find out, only to be sucked into the mania ourselves. Perhaps we were the ones that merely heard about the phenomenon but never participated, and always wondered what the hype was about but never did anything to find out.
Luckily, it was the perfect time to find out exactly what all this hype is about with The Duluth Playhouse’s performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot, the musical “lovingly” ripped off from the famed movie classic. After all, everyone loves a good musical, and this show certainly takes the cake. With the amazing cast, stellar directing, brilliant orchestra, and a willing audience, the show took off from the starting gate, stealing our hearts from the opening monologue.
Even with minor errors with sound timing, this performance of the spectacular musical would not have had a hope of surviving if it weren’t for the amazing show-stealing cast behind it. With David Greenberg stealing our hearts as the handsome Sir Galahad formerly known as Dennis and as the unrelenting Black Knight, Scott Herbert portraying a monk, a knight, a French guard, and most notably Prince Herbert’s father who absolutely hated singing of any kind much to Prince Herbert’s dismay, and the chorus of knights and “laker girls,” this performance truly portrays the old saying, “There are no small parts, only small actors.”
In all her diva fashion, Sara Wabrowetz portrayed the alluring Lady of the Lake, dropping into any and every scene whenever she had the chance. With her sultry voice and elegant looks, she deserved every spot of the limelight she got, or took, even if it meant stealing the heart of King Arthur himself.
Matthew Smith took our hearts from the opening monologue, the angst growing on his face with each “misinterpreted” subtitle and “Fisch Slapping Song.” Smith reappeared as Fred—the guy who was definitely not dead yet—and as one of the outlandish taunting French guards. However we will never forget his role as Prince Herbert, the adorably stubborn prince who wanted true love, not knowing it came in the package of Sir Lancelot (but fully embracing the idea).
Last but certainly not least, Nate St Germain portrayed Lancelot himself, and with a little encouragement from Prince Herbert and a chorus—not to mention an audience—of supporters, he embraced the side of himself that he never even knew he had. After all, the greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. Wait a second… wrong musical, but the point is still prevalent. St Germain stole the show in his own right, taking on the roles of the haughty French Taunter, Tim the Enchanter whom no one believes, and the Knight of Ni, and ending the show with a wedding and a hip thrust no one is soon to forget.
With all the obscenities and laugh-out-loud characters and antics throughout the play, King Arthur, portrayed by Chris Nollet, seemed the only level-headed one of the bunch, even through his ironically soliloquy of “I’m All Alone” while still in the company of Patsy (portrayed by Kyle McMillan). Even through such hardships, at the end of the day the entire cast reminded us that even through the hard times, it’s always best to “always look on the bright side of life.”
Anyone who has seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail can testify to its odd sense of humor. The musical Spamalot adapted from that movie played this last Saturday at the Duluth Playhouse, and they made sure to use that odd but highly entertaining humor to their advantage. The show opened with a delightful "Fisch Schlapping Song" that demonstrated just how silly this show would get. The only issue with it was that the actual slaps involved in the number seemed off. The whole show seemed to have a few timing errora when it involved sound effects. Some other moments of this occurred when the monks thumping books to their foreheads and a few other times where some characters were being hit by a shovel. But the show as a whole was far greater than these minor issues.
The central character of King Arthur was played by Chris Nollet who demonstrated a great understanding of the character. He played the character in such a way as to seem very believable which helped to balance some of the more over the top aspects of the show. He really shined during his song “I’m All Alone” in which he partakes in a pity party over being alone, while his sidekick Patsy (Kyle McMillan) tries to convince him otherwise. The vocals on this number were wonderful, and the dynamic between Nollet and McMillan was spot on. This was especially evident in McMillan’s standout song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” McMillan kept the pace and helped to lighten up what might otherwise have been a dark moment of the show.
King Arthur, though could not have existed without the help of the Lady of the Lake (Sara Wabrowetz). Wabrowetz by far had one of the most show-stopping voices of the entire cast. She made her grand entrance in a stunning gown of shimmering blue sequins and it became quite obvious that this was a character that would not be ignored. Wabrowetz really grabbed the attention during her song “Diva’s Lament”, which really showed off Wabrowetz’s phenomenal voice. The character is bright, obnoxious, and more than a bit nuts, but Wabrowetz still managed to take all this and make it her own in such a way that left one waiting for her and her completely narcissistic songs to come back.
The best part of the show though was by far its great scene stealer Matthew Smith who opened the show with his hilariously stoic Historian. Smith goes from this to the role of not dead Fred who starts the catchy tune of “He is Not Dead Yet.” Smith’s cheery vocals and fun dancing spectacularly opened this extraordinarily choreographed number. Smith was great as the lead minstrel, but really stole the show as the cross-dressing Prince Herbert. Smith took a role that could easily have been overshadowed by the fact he was wearing a dress, and made it sincere with stellar comedic timing.
If the goal of the show was to elicit laughter, it definitely accomplished that. The director Priscilla McRoberts put out a snappy show and kept the action moving. The dance numbers choreographed by Amber Burns were well put together and fit in swimmingly with the show. Overall the production was very entertaining and was quite enjoyable to see, whether one has seen the movie that inspired the musical or not.
Spamalot is a 2005 Tony Winner "Lovingly ripped off from the classes film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail". This story is the tale of King Arthur and his four nights. The play of Spamalot had to audience roaring with laughter. The humor from Spamalot is British humor that every may not understand. But if the audience watches the actors presentation, sounds effects and listens to the songs they can truly understand what is going on and what the actors are trying to get across.
The show has a mixer of comedy, romance and action all packed into one. There is comedy throughout the entire show in nearly every scene. There is romance with King Arthur and the lady of the lake and there is also romance with Sir Dennis and the lady of the lake. There is action among King Arthur and the black night who lost his limbs and still thinks he can fight.
All those who are a Spamalot fan would go crazy with this show, there are quite a few similarities from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. One of the parts that stand out are the coconuts, all of the actors who ride a "horse" have a man clapping coconuts together behind them to make their horse more "real", but in reality it is just a pair of coconuts. So to all of those who own a pair of coconuts, they should definitely bring them to a show and join the actors in their horse rides (joke).
This is a must see show at the Playhouse in Duluth, MN. The audience reflected the actors in the energy that was distributed and everyone seemed to enjoy the show. This show is for all age groups, young and old. There is dancing, singing, comedy, romance and actions all packed into one two hour show. The time watching the show slips by and by the time you know it the show is over with the audience all on stage bowing to the crowd. While there is intermission, the audience should get off their seat and buy a beer, coke, candy or cookie because there is still another scene to watch, so why not get comfortable? Once the show is over those who have attended the show should see the depot train museum if it is open. There is history and a lot of information about trains. The Playhouse auditorium is a great place to watch a show. It is not to small or too large and it is an easier auditorium which can get the audience involved easier. That is one of the best parts about Spamalot, there is laughter from all angles, genders and ages. Even though Spamalot is not performing at the Playhouse anymore, Spamalot fans do not need to worry because the play is still on broadway. If the play enters the cities, Chicago and New York, Spamalot fans are still able to see the show. They may have to pay a bit more, but this play IS a MUST see!
As with anything "Pythonesque", Spamalot hits the nail right on the head when it comes to absurd and unpredictable humor. Although differing slightly from the original Holy Grail, with more than a few modern societal and media references, it is hard to escape the daft, as well as surreal, essence offered in the original motion picture. Simply put, the play script is a parody of an already hilarious parody.
Spamalot begins with the classic off-topic subtitled credits, read by historian in the play Matthew Smith. His was one of few parts seemingly unnecessary, ultimately taking away from the original humor of the subtitle gag by the insertion of a needless introduction. As the play rolls forward, many entertaining actors come forth, outstandingly Nate St. Germain who plays 4 separate characters. He starts as the farcical French heckler who taunts King Arthur, followed by the towering Knight of Ni as well as the bi-curious Lancelot. To top it all off he also plays Tim the Enchanter in a rollicking scene that eventually leads to the (spoiler alert) discovery of the grail somewhere within the audience. The director seems to add much more of the original zaniness reminiscent of Monty Python’s Flying Circus through this sort of audience participation.
Spamalot also incorporates adulation to several formative works in the Python series’, particularly the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” in the middle and end of the show, a number originally appearing in the feature film Monty Python’s Life of Brian. From a social perspective, and as partially mentioned before, the play sheds a comical light on gay marriage through the union of St. Germain’s Lancelot and his delusional She-Prince Herbert, also played by Smith. The overall acting provided for believable characters, while the design team achieved their role in supplying exceptional lighting, costume, scenic and sound support onstage. One notable fault was the head-smacking monks’ lack of coordinating the feigned smack motion with the actual sound played overhead toward the beginning of the play, something one would consider a fairly avoidable blunder with little practice. Apart from that, the general feel of the performance was on-point, making it attendance worthy. It could, and should, be considered a boisterous spoof “lovingly ripped off” (as the original Broadway director of the production, Mike Nichols, puts it) from the iconic 1975 film. Keep in mind this does not mean one needs to be a Monty Python diehard to enjoy the humor provided by Spamalot. Also, bringing children under the age of 10 isn’t recommended as the play contains some “Adult” humor. Cheers!
Monty Python has become, over time, a staple of the comedic genre. In such films as The Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and The Meaning of Life, there is incredible comedic genius paired with moments of plain old-fashioned silliness, leaving watchers of all generations in stitches from laughing. And the spirit of these films is perfectly captured in the stage musical Spamalot, which appeared at the Duluth Playhouse throughout the month of September.
One of the inherent challenges of performing in this show is that the original material is so well known, well loved, and well quoted by the public. The adaptation has big shoes to fill, and this particular run manages to do this perfectly. Even before the show begins, the audience notices the set, which in this production is a colorful and cartoonish castle enormously reminiscent of the classic Monty Python aesthetic. Such familiar sequences as the coconut-shell galloping, the encounter with the Black Knight, the French guard, and the Knights who say Ni are brilliantly brought to life in this delightful homage.
King Arthur, as portrayed by Chris Nollet, wonderfully carries the production and plays the straight man to some of the more outrageous characters throughout, particularly in the classic scene where he encounters a local villager name Dennis, played by Mike Pederson, who hilariously challenges his authority as in the similar scene from Holy Grail. But perhaps the largest stand-out star is a character unique to this adaptation, The Lady of the Lake, played by Sara Wabrowetz. Wabrowetz showcases her show-stealing vocal skills, whether she is operatically drifting through a love song or letting her diva side show as she passionately belts out a Vegas-style musical number. Her singing is stunning and powerful, and she herself is stunning as the story’s primary love interest.
Another character who really shines through, especially in the second act, is King Arthur’s lovable lackey Patsy, played by Kyle McMillan. McMillan carries the audience into Act II with a rendition of the upbeat earworm, Always Look On the Bright Side of Life. His larger-than-life personality shines through in this number especially, as well as throughout his entire performance.
However, this show is not solely about its leading cast, and owes quite a bit to the strength of its ensemble. This talented group of actors has a demanding collection of roles to fill, switching in between playing villagers, knights, Laker Girls, French guards, peasants, minstrels, and dead guys. Incidentally, they manage to bring quite a bit of life to a group of dead (or perhaps not quite) plague victims. In this show, there really is no such thing as a small part, as the entire ensemble does have quite a large presence and effect on the overall production.
Of course, though, it would not be a Monty Python show if it wasn’t funny. And this show truly does live up to the standard. From the opening introduction to the unique audience participation factor at the end, throughout every fabulous musical number and breaking of the fourth wall, the audience was a fit of raucous laughter. Spamalot was, on the whole, an overwhelming success to celebrate the centennial year of the Duluth Playhouse.
Monty Pythons The Holy Grail has always been a comedic favorite, and the show Spamalot definitely exemplifies the ironic and witty humor that the movie has. Of course the show was "lovingly ripped off" so an audience member should expect nothing less. The songs are hilarious, and even more so the actors performing did a phenomenal job making them so.
Although all the actors were great, two in particular did a particularly amazing job. The Lady of the Lake, played by Sara Wabrowetz was not only exceptionally funny, but had a spectacular voice that resonated through the theatre every time she sang. The other actor that did an incredible job was Matthew Smith, who played the Historian, Fred, French Guard, and Prince Herbert. He did an incredible job portraying the characters, and was great at adding his own quirkiness to them. The audience clearly loved watching him, considering the great applause he got at the end of the show. Of course the performances of Chris Nollet (King Arthur) and Kyle McMillan (Patsy, Guard 2) should also be greatly praised.
Besides the wonderful performances from the actors, the costuming and stage crew should be given a standing ovation. The set was cleverly done, and the actors seemed to have no real issues with accessing all the different areas of it. Also the costumes were magnificently designed, and it was very comical how the mustaches were purposefully portrayed as fake. Although all costumes were great, the best costume was definitely Wabrowetz’s finale wedding dress.
Overall the show was great, and it definitely kept the audience laughing till the end. The director Priscilla McRoberts did an amazing job putting together this musical, and hopefully audiences will see her work again soon.
Priscilla Roberts’ Spamalot is a great laugh for many audiences, young or old. The production at the Duluth Playhouse had many people come out to watch. The only other plays I have gone out to see before going to Spamalot had been small time productions from high schools or the occasional children’s theater. Compared to the rest, this piece was easily one of the best plays that I have ever seen.
One reason that the play turned out to be so brilliant was its relation to the movie. When first hearing of the play, one would think it would only copy straight from the movie. During the play though, it surprises the audience by the amount of new material. Songs like “Whatever Happened to My Part?”, or “The Song That Goes like This”, shows that the movie didn't have a strong influence on the play. These songs even show how the play tends to break down the fourth-wall, something that the movie tends not to do to the extreme, because the play mocks the movie.
Another reason that the play was so magnificent was the excellent actors. Some of the actors were so great, that it was hard to tell the difference between the actors from the movie to the ones in the play. Chris Nollet played a brilliant King Arthur; his voice was almost exactly the same as Graham Chapman (King Arthur in the movie) and his acting was spot-on. Sara Wabrowetz as the Lady of the Lake was a terrific choice. Her voice could put you on the edge of your seat in amazement, and then blast you to the back of your seat with its power. She didn't need a microphone when she went for the finishing tones. Nate St. Germain made everyone laugh, as his part should, as the main French guard who taunted the group of knights. The comedy came straight through the movie and stayed true into the play. But, a very unique twist that is new to the story of King Arthur’s knights came from Sir Lancelot, played again by Nate St. Germain. Having Lancelot marry Herbert was a great jab at today’s culture. When it came out in 2004, it must have been even more preposterous, but as a joke coming right after the legalization of gay marriage made it even more hilarious. Another great actor was Kyle McMillan, who played Patsy. He played the “innocent and trustworthy companion” with conviction, as was shown in the song “I’m All Alone” and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Greg J. Anderson played Sir Robin, but he seemed to get the largest laughs when he played one of the dumb guards guarding Herbert, with Kyle McMillan as Guard two.
The only noticeable problem with the play was when the singing wasn't loud enough to overcome the music. I almost never noticed it when Sara Wabrowetz sang, but when Greg J. Anderson sang about theatre, it seemed like either the band was playing too loud, or he needed to sing louder and bigger.
Overall, Spamalot was a great choice for the Duluth Playhouse and the cast made it incredibly enjoyable for the whole audience. It’s a must see anywhere and for anyone, even if you haven’t seen the movie.
This page contains a single entry by Mark Harvey published on September 13, 2013 10:32 AM.
Collected Stories - Duluth Playhouse was the previous entry in this blog.
The Pillowman - Renegade Theater Company is the next entry in this blog.
Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.