Dan Canon, Brian Morris, Jeff Ketterman, Daniel Smith & Chris Meier. Photo-Mind’s Eye Theatre
Monty Python’s SPAMALOT!
Book and lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle
Directed by Janet Morris
Review By Rachel White
Entire Contents Copyright 2014 by Rachel White. All rights reserved.
I never got to see Monty Python’s SPAMALOT on Broadway or anywhere else, and I was surprised at how closely the musical follows the movie. Except for the added songs and minus some scenes it is basically Monty Python’s Holy Grail set to music. The play was staged by the relatively new Mind’s Eye Theatre Company and was produced at The Mex. Overall the piece was entertaining if somewhat uneven in places. The story is of course a spoof on the legends of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Where the original movie was ridiculous and utterly irreverent, the musical is less so, but still funny.
As we meet Arthur, King of the Britons (Jeff Ketterman), he is on a quest to gather knights for his round table. Behind him is his trusty servant Patsy (Josh O’Brien) who claps together two parts of a coconut in imitation of the rhythm of horse hooves. Ketterman has the right gravitas for Arthur and is perfect as the oblivious yet thoroughly self-assured leader. Josh O’Brien has the right dopey contentment for Patsy and the two make a good team. As the knights come together they encounter many wonders of the Monty Python world including the lovely Lady of the Lake, The Frenetic Knights who say Ni, and the magical Tim the Enchanter.
Because the work is coming from sketch, the gags and songs and funny bits work best when the actors play the characters sincerely, meaning when they don’t go for the laugh. Moments played sincerely or dryly as when Prince Edward jumps out of the window and dies and everyone shrugs and moves on represent that highlights of the show. It also happens when King Arthur suddenly realizes with delight that he is in front of an audience. Other times the jokes feel like repeats from the movie as in the “bring out your dead” moments where I felt the director could have put a more unique stamp on the material.
Good comic actors pepper the cast including Dan Canon as Tim the Enchanter and the Black Knight, and Craig Nolan Highly as the ridiculously effeminate and love sick Prince Herbert. Strong vocalists, including Carrie Cook Ketterman as the Lady of the Lake, strengthen the cast. Overall the ensemble holds it all together with comic numbers like “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and “The Song that Goes Like This”.
Monty Python’s SPAMALOT!
February 7-February 16, 2014
Mind’s Eye Theatre Company
Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
The Mex Theater
501 West Main Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
For tickets and info go to kentuckycenter.org