Monty Python’s Spamalot. Directed by Jarrad West. FreeRain Theatre. The Q theatre, Queanbeyan. To Sept 24.
fans will love this one. King Arthur (Michael Jordan) and the Knights of the
Round Table gallop, with the aid of coconut shells and Arthur’s much put upon
sidekick Patsy (Darcy Kinsella), through a quest to find The Holy Grail. If you
are a fan of the film you’ll know the scenes and dialogue backwards.
This is an
energetic production that clearly knows the territory but doesn’t always grab
it with the necessary gravitas. There’s a certain amount of trying too hard at
times and at others it’s about assuming the audience will get it because they
And mostly the
audience does, because they know all the routines, and a great time is had, as
the cast and crew battle to convey castles and shrubberies and an appearance by
the Almighty and dementedly violent rabbits. Arthur is an exasperated
conservativeand his knights are
various types of eccentrics.
aspects are taken care of by an enthusiastic Historian (Meaghan Stewart) who
pops up decreasingly to attempt historical placement. The on stage audience is
dragged into the action. Meanwhile the Lady of the Lake (a very busy and
wonderfully bored Hannah Lance) rightly feels neglected but sings a lot about
how the plot is sidelining her. Which it is, being a very blokey set up.
together a Round Table of not very bright knights. Brave Sir Robin (Grayson
Woodham) isn’t brave, Galahad (Dave Collins) and Bedevere (Rylan Howard) fail
to live up to Sir Thomas Malory’s reports of them and Lancelot (Kristofer
Patson-Gill) commits a slew of murders in his misguided attempt to rescue the
somewhat fey Herbert (James Morgan) from an unwanted marriage.
All the set
pieces surface …the old plague victim bloke who doesn’t want to go on the cart
(Meaghan Stewart), the Historian who tries to give a serious perspective
(Stewart)…the taunting of the French (Stewart), the Minstrel’s ballad about
brave Sir Robin sung by Stewart, the violence of the rabbit (abetted by
Stewart as Tim the Wizard)… if you know the film you know the territory…
Stewart clearly loves being this busy.
dancing (choreography by Michelle Heine) is almost the most spectacular thing
about the show which is mostly done on a bare stage. Fiona Leach’s costumes are
McLean doggedly drives the orchestra through its expert paces and survives a
few involvements in the action as he makes sure the music is super and the play
out at the end of the show is a real pleasure to remain in your seat for.
But it would
all go up a few notches if it was a little less self indulgent. And turn the
sound down. We know the words.