Cast: Marcus Brigstocke, Jodie Prenger, Todd Carty, Robin Armstrong, Rob Delaney, Adam Ellis, Kit Orton, Eric Idle, Jon Robyns, Eric Idle.
You either love, some would say adore, Monty Python or you just don’t get it. For those that don’t understand the concept, there is help available. For those that love it, high tail it down to the Empire Theatre and take in the majesty of absurdity of Monty Python’s Spamalot.
Spamalot is described as “lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and even though the audience should be aware of the jokes and actions that are about to happen on stage it was gratifying to see the midweek audience enjoy themselves and laughing all the way through.
Written by Python stalwart Eric Idle and John Du Prez, the show takes all the great moments of the 1975 film and mixes liberally in some incredible and ludicrous extras to create a show that’s high on comedic value and doesn’t sell itself short. With a cast that includes Marcus Brigstocke, the incredible Jodie Prenger and ex-Grange Hill, East Enders and The Bill star Todd Carty there would be no way, unless you had a major humour by pass in the last couple of weeks, to have come out of the Empire Theatre with nothing short of a huge grin on your face or singing one of the many great songs that litter and enhance the play.
There can be nothing better for a comedy audience than to see than to witness an ad-lib moment on stage throw the leading man briefly. In this case the words to Duran Duran’s hit Wild Boys being thrown in at the end of a much loved line. There may be those who think it detracts from the overall scope of the performance, however in something like Monty Python it adds significantly to the feel good factor of the show. Sometimes, you don’t want to go a show being able to reel of every line ad- nauseum; occasionally, as with shows of a similar vein like The Rocky Horror Show, the unexpected line on stage means more for an audience member than a flawless, stale performance.
Jodie Prenger a deserves special mention for her performance as the Lady of the Lake, scintillating doesn’t come close enough to describe her singing and it’s wonderful to see someone who came through reality televsion’s hunt for the next big thing actually go on to be the star she is recognised to be. Her reading of the song The Diva’s Lament was not only touchingly funny but pulled at the heartstrings of the lack of good meaty and funny parts for some women.
If there was any way to get Python Eric Idle to write a stage version of The Meaning of Life or The Life of Brian then whatever it takes lock the writing genius in a room with wall to wall extravagance and a laptop until it’s done. On the basis of Spamalot, it will be a success beyond measure.
Ian D. Hall