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Spamalot cast

Whether or not you’ve seen the movie that inspired it – Monty Python and the Holy Grail – The Arts Club Theatre’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot will indeed make you laugh a lot. Last night’s opening was well received, with cast and crew delivering above expectation at Vancouver’s Stanley Alliance Industrial Stage.

Josh Epstein
[Josh Epstein]

The lively, irony-filled musical pokes fun at the legend of King Arthur, Broadway shows, religion, and Britain itself during a two-hour-ish zany romp. You’ll meet the Laker Girls, The Knights Who Say Ni, The Lady Of The Lake, French Taunters, and an evil, killer rabbit before the night is through.

Spamalot opens in Finland, with a colourful stage and dancers singing the “Fisch Slapping Song”; Finland’s depicted as a happy nation where men gaily dance with women who slap the men with large fish. All is well – until the Historian shouts out, “I said ENGLAND, not Finland!”.

All at once the happy, drippy momentum morphs into a somber, colorless scene complete with imposing castle and monks walking in a line, smacking their heads with bibles à la Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Josh Epstein, Jay Hindle, Scott Perrie, ensemble
[Josh Epstein, Jay Hindle, Scott Perrie, ensemble]

The story continues as King Arthur, together with his servant Patsy are on a mission to recruit men to convert for his Knights of the Round Table. Another hilarious scene ensues when the two coconuts being clapped together by Patsy (to resemble the sound of horse hoofs) are questioned by various members of the cast. How would a coconut appear in England? Can a migratory bird or two bring the coconut here from a tropical land? Its these little off-kilter discussions that lead up to the larger, more frenzied moments throughout the story.

And so continues Spamalot, one hilarious scene and musical number after the next, with equally colourful characters and plot lines.

Spamalot cast

The choreography is tops; for that we have Lisa Stevens to thank. Together with Set Designer Marshall McMahen, Costume Coordinator Rebekka Sorensen-Kjelstrup, and Lighting Designer Gerald King, this is one top-notch creative team that gets to work with an equally high-calibre class of actors. Gerald lights up that castle all Vegas-like and to great effect. Numerous scenes are intensified through his remarkable talent.

Terra C. MacLeod
[Terra C. MacLeod]

David Marr entertains as King Arthur; Josh Epstein (in dual roles of Sir Robin and a French Taunter), Jay Hindle in his primary role of Lancelot (also performing as Knight of Ni and Tim), Terra C. MacLeod as The Lady of the Lake, Andrew Cownden as Patsy, and Jonathon Winsby as Galahad (and Black Knight, Herbert’s Father) are all key to giving this production the high marks it so rightly deserves. Director Dean Paul Gibson has assembled a fine cast that work very well together.

Jonathan Winsby, Terra C. MacLeod
[Jonathan Winsby, Terra C. MacLeod]

The Arts Club Theatre’s taken Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin’s original screenplay and done a fine job recreating it at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.

And Musical Director Ken Cormier (Dreamgirls, Hairspray, High Society) leads a talented group of musicians in the pit below stage.

Jay Hindle, David Marr, Andrew Cownden, ensemble
[Jay Hindle, David Marr, Andrew Cownden, ensemble]

“This is a total bloody disaster. All my knights have fled into a very expensive forest.” – King Arthur

I particularly enjoyed the campy expressions, particularly during “The Song That Goes Like This”, performed by Sir Galahad and the Lady Of The Lake.

Spamalot cast

Vancouver, you’re in for a fun evening!

Spamalot continues through June 29 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Photos by David Cooper.

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