Perhaps one of the most quotable of B-rated British comedies loosely related to the lore of King Arthur and his knights is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Or it's the only one. Either way, we can't get enough of it.) The only way to make it better? Add some more self-aware dance numbers and throw it onstage.
The cast of Spamalot. All photos courtesy of George Katsekes Jr.
Spamalot is features the film's long beloved songs, such as "Knights of the Round Table" and "Brave Sir Robin", all the while incorporating riotous additions including the iconic "Diva's Lament". Karl Miller's direction is the right balance of honoring the film and its horde of dedicated fans, as well as reinvigorating favorite moments and inventing a few of his own. The result is both familiar and remarkably fresh.
Hannah Esch is the perfect diva as the Lady of the Lake. The character begins as the somewhat mythical (and yet human in all the relevant ways) creature which deems King Arthur the kingliest of men. As the story progresses, the Lady becomes a vocal one-stop-shop, stepping into the needs of any particular moment or scene.
Hannah Esch, Erick Welch, and Matthew Enevold.
Esch takes the audience on a musical journey through jazz and soul to classic Broadway. The quality never falters - she really can do it all. She and Eric Welch (as Dennis, turned Sir Galahad) have an animated banter in "The Song That Goes Like This", as they each compete for greater command of the spotlight in the fourth wall shattering number.
Ted Shaw, Erick Welch, Corey Richards, Noah Maguire, and Jacob Cesar.
Corey Richards commands considerable attention as the jovial yet woeful King Arthur. His rich baritone voice brings a sense of royalty, all the while dashed by his cowardly and frankly foolish actions. The antihero is a lovable loser, and everything from Richards' directly addressing the audience to his minute lip quiver secures the role.
Spamalot is irreverent, offensive, crude, and truly unnecessary. In other words, it is exactly everything that is so loved about Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sunset Playhouse could not better cast or execute the show, and with Miller's direction, the theatrical interpretation resonates as loudly as the 1975 predecessor. The production runs through May 12th in the Furlan Auditorium.