For the second time in three weeks, I find myself reviewing a touring production of a musical that I have previously enjoyed in the West End. After the success of Hairspray, would Spamalot live up to the London original?
The answer to that is yes and no.
The show holds up as a fun, frothy piece of entertainment – not just for Monty Python geeks. The script is as sharp as ever and there is a great energy to the production as a whole (and the choreography in particular.)
As is inevitable with touring production, this is a on a much smaller scale than what I saw at the Palace Theatre. With a chorus of 4 in addition to the principals, everyone is working very hard – with numerous costume changes and lots of fast-paced action. The production plays up the pantomime feel – complete with song sheet and dragging people out of the audience - and does so very well. I just feel that by trimming some of the longer dance sequences and reducing the overall size of the show it ends up lacking a little in pizzazz.
Leading the cast, Marcus Brigstocke is a very winning King Arthur – using his comedy skills to good effect. Amy Nuttall has all the notes for Lady of the Lake but she is not quite enough of a diva to fully round out the character.
I still very much enjoyed this version and it is, perhaps, unfair to compare it to the West End. It is a solid, entertaining night out with some good tunes and some classic comic moments.