Spamalot at New Wimbledon Theatre
Due to popular demand, Spamalot returns to delight audiences with a tour across the UK. Originally based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it recounts the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in a very unconventional way. Joe Pasquale is on top form as he plays a sarcastic and misunderstood King Arthur. The Lady of the Lake, played by vocally well-endowed Sarah Earnshaw, entrusts him with the magic sword Excalibur, and he gathers the bravest men in the land to fight great battles and undertake various expeditions, culminating in the search for the Holy Grail.
Apart from parodying the Camelot tales by dumbing down its protagonists, the play ridicules the missions of the knights by examining them with a cynical eye. The quest for the Holy Grail, for instance, is described as God’s misplacing of a mug. The knights are puzzled by the notion that God, the all-knowing, could be unaware of its location and would expect them to be better suited for the task of tracking it down. Honouring the original Pythons’ disregard for the punchline, the comedy is interwoven throughout the script to create a constant flow of humour.
While the original frame of the musical is retained, parts of the plot are updated to include references to current affairs and the latest popular culture trends. Therein lies the strength of the production: apart from the well-known, tried-and-tested comical aspects of the show, which are by no means worn out by time, the text is maintained as fresh with a few tweaks that keep it relevant and as modern as can be.
As entertaining as the script is, however, the most amusing parts are perhaps the improvised lines offered by Joe Pasquale, which catch by surprise even his co-actors, some of whom can hardly suppress their laughter; this in turn increases the audience’s merriment. Another gem is a hilarious moment of audience participation where an unsuspecting spectator takes on an important role in the storyline. The show is so packed with puns, sarcasm and double-entendres, that there is bound to be a part that will have any viewer laugh to the point of tears. Judging by its reception, it would seem that Spamalot has now confirmed its status as the Holy Grail of musical comedies.
Spamalot is on at New Wimbledon Theatre from 8th June until 13th June 2015, for further information or to book visit here.