Review submitted by Matthew Bue of Albert Einstein High School.
Hear ye hear ye, Thomas S. Wooton high school’s production of “Spamalot” is a roaring good time and will have you laughing before the end of the overture. Based on Monty Python’s 1975 film “Holy Grail,” the show follows most of the plot points in the movie, a parody of Arthurian tales, with a couple of classic skits and songs thrown in for good measure. The 2005 hit Broadway musical received Tony nominations in 14 categories and took home 3, including best musical. Lyrics written by Python alum Eric Idle the show is both a celebration of the group’s successes and greatest hits as well as a lampooning of American Broadway show’s staple elements.
The original Arthur on Broadway was legendary actor Tim Curry. In this production the responsibility of king of the Britains is shouldered by Zach Cassidy who gives an excellent performance as the self-righteous ruler on a quest for the holy grail. His voice and intonation were a comfortable mix of Curry’s gusto and Graham Chapman’s original 75′ Arthur. Patsy, Arthur’s loyal sidekick, was also deftly played by Olivia Speck who shouldered her own burdens in the form of comedic levity, the classic coconut shells being one, and a literal over encumbered backpack filled with various props and sundries. However, a review of the show would not be complete without mention of the female cast’s talent in this male heavy show. Charlotte Bergel (Sir Robin) and Alyssa Herman (Lady of the Lake) were some of the standouts, as a dancer and singer respectively. Bergel’s number “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” established her as a triple threat, acting, singing, and dancing her heart out. Whereas Alyssa Herman’s literal show stealing “Whatever Happened to My Part” shows off her incredible singing bravado as well as Python’s signature meta comedy.
The ensemble in the show did a good job changing in and out of costume for the different groups and various featured characters, which each arguably play just as important a part of the comedy as the lead and supporting characters. The importance of wacky, zany, and surprisingly intelligent characters was not lost on the directors of the show which mainly stood out in casting of Robert Summers-Berger (Not Dead Fred) who not only nailed Python member Terry Jones’s iconic voice but was also a surprisingly spirited dancer.
Something that really touched the Python fan in me was the use of the original show and movie graphics on a projected screen. This was used as both a scene dressing and character design when god came down to convene with his loyal knights. The Wooton Pit Orchestra was also a character in itself with its own written gags that either connected to the cast or the audience all the while playing the score excellently.
This musical was a delight to see, constantly making the audience laugh and reminding us to always look on the bright side of life. For anyone who has missed their favorite group of British jesters I’d suggest taking a stop by Thomas S. Wooton’s production of “Spamalot” for a good feeling and a good laugh.
The performance reviewed was from Saturday, 03/30/2019.
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