Monday, October 14, 2013
Theater review: Absurdities in Spamalot will keep you laughing
Just don't soil your knickers.
LEWISVILLE King Arthur and his motley band of knights are at the helm of an uncanny adventure featuring music, mysticism and the obligatory “happily ever after” wedding. The journey of Spamalot crosses peaks and valleys of victory and despair in a hilarious musical in North Texas.
From the writer of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot follows King Arthur of England (played by Ben Phillips) as he recruits army men to conquer outlandish tasks throughout the land, getting comically distracted along the way.
Arthur finds four knights each with a defining characteristic: Sir Galahad (Gregory Hullett), the hippie; Lancelot, the closet homosexual (Gregg Girardi); Sir Robin (Michael Durington), the scaredy cat; and Sir Belvedere (Pet Watson), the thickheaded one. Together, with Arthur’s sidekick Patsy (John Garcia), they get wild in their home kingdom of Camelot with showgirls, martinis, gambling and a live performance by the Lady of Lake (Stephanie Felton). What happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot, as they say.
That is, until God calls on them to find the Holy Grail.
Spamalot’s script is expertly written with a new laugh around every corner. The scenes are often injected with modern references (i.e. cell phone and hashtags) to explain logical concepts, though some characters remain stuck in a Dark Ages mentality, cockeyed and confused among the bunch. But the script really shines in its quippy one-liners that are delivered with perfect timing and emotion.
Laughter rings throughout the theater for two-and-a-half hours solid.
This is due, in no small part, to the cast, whose energy and fantastic facial expressions light up the theater. No one actor stands out above the rest, as each fully develops his or her character’s personality in the most hilarious way possible. The play’s strongest moments are undoubtedly when all 13 actors were singing and dancing together — whether that includes a strip tease, tap dance or cha-cha.
Spamlot relies on the marriage of music and dance. Vocally, all actors excel. The Lady of the Lady handles even the most risqué of her solos with style and grace. And even the meager Patsy has a solo that blows audiences away. Perhaps the best is “The Song That Goes Like This,” an emotional duet between the Lady of the Lake and
King Arthur Sir Galahad that chronicles logistically how an emotional duet is performed.
Several members of the cast also play multiple roles, sometimes in one scene, which is impressive. Rest assured, this is no average community theater.
The use of props and set design are also instrumental in Spamalot. The stage stays virtually static with the image of a castle in the woods, though a few large pieces are functionally repurposed as a tower chamber and cave. A black scrim and curtain eases the transitions between scenes and keeps up the pace of the production.
Ensembles of various knights and Lake Girls (Lady of the Lake’s squad of cheerleader minions) make athletic use of props, from serving trays and booty shorts to weapons and umbrellas.
One of the most energetic and aesthetically equipped scenes is when Lancelot realizes he is gay. Disco balls ascend from the ceiling and a glitter cloud encompasses the stage for “His Name is Lancelot,” a scene with no shortage of gold Speedos.
Whether they are dealing with irritable bowel syndrome or dragging audience members onto the stage, Greater Lewisville Community Theatre’s cast of Monty Python’s Spamalot is hysterical. The play lends itself to colorful characters and absurdities, and this production satisfies on all fronts.Follow @tineywristwatch