Reviewed by Nigel Chester
We were fortunate last night (17 April 2018) to find ourselves seated in the auditorium of Derby Theatre for the highly acclaimed musical comedy, Monty Python’s Spamalot, which premiered at Christmas 2004 and is as funny and as relevant as it did some 14 years ago. Spamalot remains true to the original, but has been tweaked to reflect todays audience, with even Donald Trump getting a mention.
I must admit to being too young to remember the TV show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and wondered if I would feel that I wasn’t one of the in-crowd. There was no need for me to have worried, as a funny joke is funny, whether or not it’s the first time you have heard it or not.
At times I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of it, I have no idea why some of it was so amusing, but it was.
Based on the film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the play beautifully brings together political satire. It is stupid and absurd, but it is British humour at its best. Each word is carefully crafted to link and build to its side-splitting conclusion.
King Arthur (Bob Harms), his trusty sidekick/steed Patsy (Rhys Owen) in tow, embarks on a sacred quest to find the Holy Grail, but first has to find knights to join him. Meeting Galahad, or Dennis, had he bothered to ask, for the first time, Arthur convinces him to join the quest by introducing the Lady of the Lake, and the stunning voice of Sarah Harlington,
Travelling through sketches familiar to aficionados, such as “Bring out your Dead” the taunting of the French soldiers, “Your Mother was a Hamster and your Father smelt of elderberries”. The fearsome Knights of Ni.
Sir Galahad’s rescue of Prince Herbert “forty years later and it’s still controversial”. All were there, the plot was sophisticated and delivered on beautiful sets, or sometimes no set at all. The final defeat of the rabbit with the Holy hand grenade of Antioch, at last revealing the grail.
The music and songs linked the sketches seamlessly, however the sound levels seemed to make the dialogue difficult to follow in the first half of the performance, this seemed to be, thankfully resolved after the interval.
Whether you are a Monty Python fan or not, this is a truly entertaining performance and a must-see in my eyes.
Tickets cost from £18.50 to £32.50 (booking fees may apply).
Monty Python’s Spamalot is at Derby Theatre from 17-21 April 2018, for more information or book tickets visit www.derbytheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01332 593939.
Derby Theatre, 15 Theatre Walk, St Peter’s Quarter, Derby, DE1 2NF | 01332 593939