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Spamalot (Tour - Birmingham)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Christmas 2010 was the last time this show was seen by audiences in Birmingham with musical royalty Matthew Kelly and Jodie Prenger. I was a little apprehensive about the new cast of Steven Pacey and Bonnie Langford as King Arthur and The Lady of the Lake respectively, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, they were a true comedic delight to watch with an ensemble cast that played excellent supporting roles, and not just one or two roles, often three and four roles, only adding to hilarity of the show.

Bonnie Langford is an absolute dazzling treat as Lady of the Lake. I cannot help but agree with her in her show-stopping solo number, The Diva’s Lament – “it’s half way through Act 2 and I’ve had nothing yet to do. I’ve been off stage for far too long, it’s been ages since I had a song.” For when she does arrive in front of the curtain, her strong and powerful vocals are displayed perfectly in the ticklishy funny number that she tackles with, what seems like, great pleasure from performer and audience alike.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, the opening of Act 2, finally gives Todd Carty, as Patsy, a chance to shine as his character was barely noticed during Act 1. A real treat to see so many people enjoy his performance; he tackled the number with great ease, albeit with his limited singing ability, his portrayal of Patsy is heart-warmingly believable. Adam Ellis (Prince Herbert) and Kit Orton (Sir Lancelot) create one of the most memorable scenes in the show, a camp and over the top song and dance with His Name Is Lancelot. References to the Camelot YMCA and the admission that Lancelot likes to dance a lot, in his pants a lot creates a visual cheesy dance scene that had everyone laughing, probably all for different reasons, but works perfectly.

An unexpecting audience member in seat “done”, or d one, is dragged up on stage in perfect pantomime fashion that members of the cast joke, “breaks the fourth wall”. In actual fact the fourth wall seems irrelevant in this piece of theatre that is full of gags that joke about everything that musicals have been about since inception, particularly in The Song That Goes Like This.

I must admit, I have never seen Monty Python or the Holy Grail so the show was attended with a small sense of apprehension. The shows silliness had slightly put me off before now but I regret not seeing it sooner; a genuine pleasure to watch.

Laugh, smile, dance and sing the knight away at this fantastic musical until Saturday 31 March at the New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham.

- by Kieran Johnson @KieranJaye


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