Friday, February 28, 2020


Monty Python’s Spamalot. Book and lyrics by Eric Idle. Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle. From the original musical Monty Python and the Holy Grail with original screenplay by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle. Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Directed by Richard Carroll. Choreographer. Cameron Mitchell. Musical supervisor. Conrad Hamill. Designer. Emma Vine. One Eyed Man Productions ThePlayhouse. Canberra Theatre Centre. February 27 – March 1. Bookings 62435711.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
Josie Lane, Jane Watt, Blake Appelqvist
and Marty Alix as the Knights of Ni
A slice of spam has only a touch of ham, but Monty Python’s Spamalot has a lot. Fans of Monty Python will have a night of riotous fun and laughter at Python veteran Eric Idle’s musical adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Familiarity mixes with devotion and a touch of surprise as Idle mixes in such routines as the fish slapping dance, the Bring out Your Dead sequence, the fearsome white rabbit peril and much much more. In short Spamalot is a night of utter silliness that any audience unfamiliar with the Arthurian legend would find hilarious, ridiculous and frivolous. Well, almost anyone. The man seated next to me was nowhere to be seen after interval. A pity really. Act Two really hit its straps with more numbers, the appearance of the bizarre forest dwelling Knights of Ni and a couple of weddings to celebrate the discovery of the Holy Grail and the lucky audience member who was roundly celebrated with the Arthur Award.

Cramer Cain as King Arthur and
Rob Johnson
Director, Richard Collins, who wowed Canberra audiences with his production of Calamity Jane, once again serves up an interactive treat with some members of the audience seated on either side of the stage and encouraged at times to be drawn into the action or to hold the lead of Arthur’s imaginary horse. The show closes with a standing ovation to reprise the infectious “Always look on the Bright Side”.  Collins with musical supervisor Conrad Hamill and choreographer Cameron Mitchell keep the  night clip clopping along as King Arthur (Cramer Cain) with his faithful  coconut clicking Patsy (Amy Hack) set off in search of his absent knights Sir Bedevire (Jane Watt), Sir Robin (Marty Alix), Sir Galahad (Blake Appleqvist) and brave Sir Lancelot (Abe Mitchell). Josie Lane wows with a powerhouse vocal range as the Lady of the Lake and fair Guinevere and Rob Johnson makes a very fetching Prince Herbert as he leaps from role to role. Carroll has chosen a terrifically versatile and talented cast who sing and dance and act with ridiculous abandonment. Set upon the intimately reduced Playhouse stage within Emma Vine’s colourful painted backdrops, complete with an invoice tag, Spamalot covers its themes with fool hardy flippery in the self-mocking tradition of the Monty Python comedians. Laughing the fear of death to scorn and mocking the age old rivalry of the English and the French are just two of the sacred cows that suffer Idle’s wit.  
Josie Lane, Cramer Cain and Company

It’s all good revue style fun, expertly and tightly directed by Carroll with lyrical, catchy tunes by Eric Idle and John du Prez and with a cast who flamboyantly embrace the spirit of Monty Python humour. After all, with book, lyrics and music by master Python himself, you know that you’re in for the real thing. If the audience had not been cunningly coaxed to stand to salute the Arthur Award winner at the end, the show would have come to a rapturous close with a spontaneous standing ovation. No spam in this inbox of whole-hearted fun.