One of the most outrageously funny musicals produced in recent years is Monty Python’s SPAMALOT and Orlando Shakespeare Theater has chosen it to kick off their 2015-2016 season.
I caught one of the preview performances last week, and I have to say they chose wisely. It’s a wonderful production of the wacky, bawdy, and exhuberant stage version of the classic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The story is a loose take on the story of King Arthur, the Knights of the Roundtable, and the Lady of the Lake. It’s silly and full of sight gags and puns, with action that occurs with clever stage props and staging.
Director Jim Helsinger keeps the show pacing in check so the nonsense is fun but not farcical. He’s also got a great cast to work with.
As King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake, Davis Gaines (best known as the title character in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera) and Dee Roscioli (best known as Elphaba in Wicked), both deliver the notes with ease while milking the lyrics for every laugh.
They’re backed by a stellar cast, many of whom play more than one role in this production. I definitely have to give props to Jonathan Wiener who not only plays Sir Lancelot, but earned huge laughs as the French Taunter. And yes, this bit is every bit as saucy as the movie version.
If this musical were a movie, I would say it would be a very hard PG-13. This definitely isn’t one for the young ones…or those easily shocked or offended. If you’ve ever seen anything Monty Python, you should be ok with this show.
The Orlando Shakes version of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT is so much fun, the theater can barely contain it all. In fact, sometimes the audience becomes part of the production, but that is all I can say without revealing a surprise that happens during the show.
I don’t think this presentation of SPAMALOT could be any better even if it had some actual Monty Python-ers in it. Yes, it was that good.
The Orlando Shakes production of Monty Python’s SPAMALOT runs through October 11, with performances 7:30pm Wednesday-Friday; 2 and 7:30pm Saturday; 2pm Sunday; with additional 2pm Tuesday matinees Sept. 16, 23 and 30. Show length is 2hrs 25min including a 15 minute intermission.
Tickets are $22-$60, and are available via phone at 407-447-1700, Ext. 1; online at orlandoshakes.org; or at the box office at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E. Rollins St, Orlando).
[Cast photos courtesy Orlando Shakespeare Theater/photography, Tony Firriolo]
Disclaimer: I was invited to preview the show for review, but as always, my opinion is my own. Thanks to Orlando Shakes!
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