MIX together some Monty Python, an Arthurian quest, a few knowing references to theatrical traditions and a soupçon of an ‘outraaaageous accent’ and Spamalot is the rib-tickling result.
The musical, based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail and made into a stage show by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, is splendidly silly, puncturing the pomposity of (occasionally) bombastic West End theatre-fillers with aplomb.
With an utterly irrelevant opening number (The Fisch Schlapping Song) and an utterly knowing big romantic number (The Song That Goes Like This), the writers have managed the impressive trick of penning a thoroughly enjoyable version of the genre they are mocking.
King Arthur (Phil Jupitus), along with trusty sidekick Patsy (Todd Carty), set off on a quest to find the grail, helped by Sir Lancelot (Graham MacDuff), Sir Bedevere (Robin Armstrong), Sir Robin (Samuel Holmes) and Sir Galahad (Simon Lipkin) and with sage advice from big-lunged Lady of the Lake (Jessica Martin).
The group – while not performing musical numbers – run into some knights who say ‘Ni’, a killer bunny, a Frenchman with a knack for insults and a surprisingly persistent Black Knight.
But do the knights find the grail?
And is there a big wedding to look forward to at the finale? Well, what do you think?
There are fantastic performances from the cast, especially the talented knights who manage to juggle characters and accents as they pop up throughout as other characters.
Todd Carty gives an endearing performance as the hapless Patsy and delivers the show’s best-known number Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, while Phil Jupitus nicely handles the exasperated one-liners but is a little underpowered when dealing with physical comedy.
Fans of Monty Python, fans of musicals and fans of, frankly, laughing quite a lot should snap up tickets now.
Spamalot is on at the Congress Theatre until Saturday night, with evening performances at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.
Call 412000 for tickets.
By Laura Sonier