"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
at the Public Hall Witham
sprightly Spamalot from WAOS, with a great chorus and some very
alongside the colourful live action, there's a crashing chandelier
for the pastiche number, useful glosses for the Chosen People song, a
Wikipedia entry for The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, a wheel of
fortune for Camelot, and much more. The back-drops, too, are digital.
shortage of proper Pythonesque performances either. Amongst the
knights in woolly tights,
Kris Tyler's bold
Lancelot and Michael Mundell-Poole's
Sir Robin – both sounding more Essex Yeomanry than upper crust -
Spurgeon's Melchett-moustached Sir Bedevere. Craig Tyler – a
convincingly radical Dennis
the dashing Sir Galahad.
is played, a
Mother Riley, by Edward Groombridge, who's also a French taunter and
a priceless Prince Herbert [another
hundred people just contracted the plague...].
This kind of imaginative doubling is crucial to this show: Nik Graham
is the other taunter, Tim, and the Knight of Ni, Harry Tunningley an
irrepressible Not Dead Fred and Lancelot's
trusty Concorde. Even Richard Cowen, an amusingly Starkey-ish
Historian, is the tedious Brother Maynard in Act Two.
first couple are Constance Lawton's diva Lady of the Lake, and David
Slater's impressively sung Arthur – a genial,
formidable presence. His hang-dog Patsy, a brolly in his knapsack, is
the big production number, with tap-dancing playing cards. The chorus
is brilliantly used, from the campest copacabana for the
out-of-the-closet Lancelot to the athletic cheerleaders. Good
to see Marcel Marceau with the onion seller amongst the French
audience on opening night were enthusiastically appreciative –
whistling, singing along and laughing immoderately at the excellent
guard panto routine, the snippet of vintage Python, the Brexit joke.
impressive production of a cult classic, directed by Nikki
Mundell-Poole, assisted by Gemma Gray, with Geoff Osborne in charge
of the music. A good omen for another off-the-wall show next spring –
to the Forbidden Planet, Shakespeare's
forgotten rock'n'roll masterpiece.