Looking on the bright side

Joe Pasquale

Joe Pasquale as King Arthur with the fortunate second hand shrubbery, which smells of cats, obtained for the Knight of Ni

Spamalot

The New Alexandra Theatre

*****

 

It is a show you never tire of, which is perhaps down to its unrelenting tide of pure, unadulterated daftness.

Numerous people have taken on the serious and demanding role of King Arthur – sorry, I was mixing it up with Camelot – have taken on the role of Arthur, King of the Britons, from Thespians such as Matthew Kelly and Stephen Tompkinson through comedians such as Phil Jupitas and Marcus Brigstocke and in Arthur’s current re-incarnation it is Joe Pasquale.

Pasquale is in his element talking to an audience, not a large part of Arthur’s repertoire here, but he manages to squeeze it in and has some glorious moments of pained expressions and telling glances at the peasants’ collectives and congenital dolts surrounding him as well as Lozzi Lee, dragged up from the audience as the grail minder to be awarded a crown and have his photo taken.Todd Crty

Arthur’s faithful manservant is Patsy played once again by Todd Carty who has made the role his own; he is probably known as much for Spamalot as EastEnders these days.

Emerging from the Lake is Sarah Earnshaw, the lady thereof, who we discover is called Guinevere which serves to tie up loose ends so the show can end. She is a lady who can really belt out a song with a fine, powerful voice.

The ever reliable Todd Carty once more in harness with the cares of the world on his shoulders as Patsy. Picture: Manuel Harlan

Around that trio we have a cast of nine who play everyone else from Dennis Galahad, played by Richard Meek, who also serves as Prince Herbert’s father; Sir Lancelot, played by Jamie Tyler, who play a whole host of baddies; and Josh Wilmott who plays Sir Bedevere, and among other roles, one of a pair of the world’s most stupid guards.

There is Sir Robin, plague dead collector, who joins the round table for the singing and dancing, and is played by Will Hawksworth who also doubles as the other stupid guard; there is Sir Herbert, played, fetchingly, by Richard Kent who also gives is Not Dead Fred and then there is God, played by the wonders of celestial video, by Eric Idle.

Reverence is not a strong point of this offspring of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Along the way on the quest for the Holy Grail we meet the likes of Tim the Enchanter, a killer rabbit, a black knight who battles on with all his limbs cut off and a giant Knight of Ni, which leaves Pasquale, who is happiest in the Telly Savalas, Lee Marvin school of singing, belting out Looking for a Hero.

There are dancing girls, a gay number with Launcelot and Herbert, and some wonderful songs from Idle and John Du Prez backed by an excellent seven piece band under Tony Castro at the back of the stage.

Songs such as The Song That Goes Like This The Diva’s Lament and I’m Alone would grace any musical . . . as long as you don’t listen too closely to the words sending up just about every other musical while Always Look on The Bright Side of Life is known by just about everyone alive . . . or dead considering its popularity at funerals.

Directed by Christopher Luscombe and set by Hugh Durrant the evening just flies by in a whirl of glorious silliness. If laughter is the best medicine then Spamalot should be able to cure anything. To 07-14-15

Roger Clarke

02-01-15 

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