Theatre Royal, Brighton: Spamalot, starring Marcus Brigstocke, Jodi Prenger and Todd Carty
The word ‘romp’ is probably a bit overused in theatre reviews. But absolutely on the button for this touring production of Spamalot, the stage musical “lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, by Eric Idle and John Du Prez.
It’s a hoot from start to finish, and it works for three key reasons: Idle and Du Prez have successfully kept the funniest bits from the Holy Grail film (and wisely chucked in Life of Brian signature song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life); it has some killer tunes and a cast that ham it up with relish and energy.
Marcus Brigstocke does a decent job of being a very British King Arthur, including a much better singing voice than I expected; I’d Do Anything star Jodi Prenger is a loveable comic turn as well as a real belter of a singer; Todd Carty is spot on as the loyal oaf Patsy and the ensemble cast ham, glam and flim-flam their way through the Python silliness with fun and pzazz.
The costumes are great, and the band do a great job in driving the music along, from the oh-so-knowing musical spoof The Song That Goes Like This to the camp disco of His Name is Lancelot, the daftness of He Is Not Dead Yet to the mock grandeur of Find Your Grail.
Choreographer Jenny Arnold deserves a mention for some great set piece routines, where even the silly hoofing holds together, and director Christopher Luscombe keeps the pace going well considering the slightly bitty nature of the storyline.
All in all, it’s a hugely fun show that had the packed first night crowd up on their feet singing and clapping along at the end. It’s very silly in the best Python tradition and leaves you with a smile on your face. You’ll love it.