Affectionately known by its acronym GG&SS, the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society is known for the incomparable amount of joy and enthusiasm they bring to the Georgetown University Law Center’s Hart Auditorium stage. This year’s Fall musical Spamalot is no exception. Perhaps it’s the program’s tongue-in-cheek bios, the vast quantities of beer available in the lobby or the anticipatory electricity floating through the audience but I knew I was in for a singularly impressive performance.
So, what do you do with a bunch of admittedly stressed out, highly intelligent over achievers? Founded in 1972, GG&SS provides a vital service to the Georgetown University Law Center community. Originally created to perform Gilbert & Sullivan operettas (Trial By Jury was their first show, of course) GG&SS is now in its 42nd season. “The only theater group with its own law school,” GG&SS has over 50 members and, in lawyerly fashion, it’s own Board of Directors, constitution and bylaws.
…the moments where I was not laughing or smiling were few and far between.
The 2004 Broadway Musical version of the much-lauded 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is a loose interpretation of the legend of the first King of Britain, Arthur (Gary Jin) and includes a brief, irreverent history of Medieval England.
Joanne Rogers as King Arthur’s famed sidekick Patsy may be the standout in a production chock-a-block with actors giving it their all. As the long-suffering Patsy, Rogers sports outrageous dance moves and facial expressions that constantly had me pointing her out to my husband when the action was going on elsewhere onstage.
Continuing on, Arthur collects Sir Lancelelot, the Homicidally Brave (Xander Tapling), Sir Robin, the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot (Justine Summers McClain), Sir Dennis Galahad, the Dashingly Handsome (Paul Filippeli) and Sir Bedevere, the Strangely Flatulent (Victoria Valencia). Sir Galahad even gets a little action from The Lady of the Lake (Emily Krulewitz) in the superbly over-acted and, if you’ve ever been a soprano, extraordinarily relevant “The Song That Goes Like This.”
Prince Herbert (Alex Bassett), the wonderfully effeminate prince trapped by his father in a castle tower, is rescued by Sir Lancelot (Where Are You?/Here You Are”), who subsequently realizes that he is gay (“His Name is Lancelot”) and Herbert is the love of his life. All the knights are spectacular in their own way but Tapling’s Lancelot deserves kudos for a topless scene during which he manages to truly let loose despite the hundred or so eyes in the audience staring him down (remember, he goes to class with these people every day…).
All the knights are finding their happy endings but where is Arthur’s happy ending and where oh where is the Holy Grail? You’ll just have to visit the Georgetown University Law Center to find out.
So much happens in Spamalot that trying to describe it all here would be an injustice to both the musical and the movie. The list of impressive moments and stellar performances goes on and on and on. Spamalot may be the perfect show for a ragtag group of law student performers and the moments where I was not laughing or smiling were few and far between. Whoever chose this production for GG&SS knew what they were doing.
The GG&SS Artistic Team team includes the volunteer efforts of the Executive Producer/Set Designer Jeffrey Robert Asjes, Associate Director/Stafe Manager Jeff Mikoni, Music Director Brandon Fullenkcamp, Associate Choreographer Sara Nolan Collins, Fight Choreographer John Gurski, Assistant Fight Choreographer Robert Gonia, Paint Designer Carolina Alonso, Lighting Designer Jonathan Zucker, Sound Deisgner Ben Jacobson and Costume Designer Laura Duncombe. For a show that includes very quick and numerous costume changes, superbly constructed and varied sets and an unbelievable amount of specialty props, GG&SS, an all-volunteer and donation dependent organization professionally and skillfully presents Spamalot.
Advisory: Adult content, suitable for those 18 years and older.
Running Time: Two hours and twenty minutes, including a 20-minute intermission.
Monty Python’s Spamalot runs through November 8, 2014 at the Hart Auditorium at the Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. For tickets click here.