Spamalot, is the monster musical hit that, according to the marketing, has been lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There is a lot of familiar ground to cover as we join King Arthur on his quest, with characters such as The Black Knight (it’s only a flesh wound), the French Taunter and the Knights who say Ni being involved. But regardless of being a Python fan or not, there are plenty of laughs along the way.
The world of show business, star names and musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber are all targets for the humour, with up to date references keeping the show fresh and relevant to today’s audience.
King Arthur is played by Marcus Brigstocke and makes his musical theatre debut in a role so against type. Instead of the stand-up comic routine he is very much the straight man of this piece with the mayhem happing all around him. Hayley Tamaddon is a delight as The Lady of the Lake, as she proves she has great comic timing as well as a fine singing voice. While Todd Carty as Patsy, never manages put his own stamp on the character, as he loyally follows King Arthur.
The set is colourful although somewhat basic and the actual chorus numbers do appear sparse. As the actors playing so many different characters it is only at the final curtain call you realise how small the actual cast is. At one point even the backstage crew join in a musical number, which while intentionally funny, highlighted the need for a larger chorus.
This is a real feel good musical, which will uplift anyone’s spirits and while most of the musical numbers are instantly forgettable (although very funny when in context) there is no escaping " Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" which closes the show. At the curtain call the audience willingly join in singing and clapping along and for those somehow unfamiliar with the words, do not worry, there is a large song sheet, in true pantomime tradition, for you to follow.