Friday, 28 June 2013

SPAMALOT (Playhouse Theatre) Review June 2013

I blogalot about touring productions and Spamalot has most certainly done the rounds now. Since 2010 the show has toured the length and breadth of Arthur's Kingdom and in 2012 found a permanent home in the West End. Having played a limited 6 week run at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Spamalot transferred to the Playhouse Theatre where it has been making audiences laughalot since November 2012. 

After interviewing Joe Pasquale at the launch of this year's Wolverhampton pantomime (click here to read) it was with merry delight that I dancedalot when given the opportunity to review the latest King of the Britons. Starring for a limited six week period until 27th July, Joe appears alongside theatre goddess Bonnie Langford as the Lady Of The Lake. 

Eric Idle and Jon Du Prez's musical is lovingly ripped off from Monty Python's The Holy Grail and is a conglomeration of various Python anecdotes from the other films and TV series. We follow King Arthur and his noble steed Patsy (Michael Burgen) along with knights (not days, but knights) of the very round table on a quest to find the grail and eventually turn the whole thing into a musical...

You won't succeed in the West End if you don't have any stars and this production is full of them. Not only the big name stars - Pasquale and Langford, but in the supporting cast. Michael Burgen is a charming Patsy who gets to sing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. Adam Ellis is a delight not only as Not Dead Fred (who can dance, sing and do the highland fling) but also in a hilarious turn as  the flamboyant Prince Herbert - with an incredibly strong falsetto. Rob Delaney receives great applause for the high energy You Won't Succeed in Showbiz. Kit Orton has fun not only as the homicidally brave Sir Lancelot but as the Knight Of Ni and in one of the shows most hilarious side-splitting moments as the French Taunter. Robin Armstrong has been with the production since it began touring in 2010 and keeps the most hilarious facial expressions throughout as the strangely flatulent Sir Bedevere. Jon Robyns as the dashingly handsome Sir Denis Galahad when duetting with Bonnie Langford brings a matinee audience to rapturous applause with The Song That Goes Like This.

Jon Robyns and Bonnie Langford (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

The diva role in any musical always steals the show and Bonnie Langford certainly wows the crowd. There is such a warmth that she oozes and you know to expect no less from the seasoned professional who riffs her way through the songs, raising the roof and beaming that famous and most charming smile.

Joe Pasquale is almost like his pantomime characters, the loveable jester, but here he finds himself King, which lends well to the insane plot. Hugh Durrant has created the most charming little set and there's a fine orchestra. It doesn't drag on either, at two hours long Spamalot is just concentrated hilarity from start to finish. It's bold, it's brash, it's British (and a little bit French) and you'll laughalot til you cryalot.

If you're not yet dead or in bed with the plague then you must book tickets! Don't be a Doubting Denis or they'll fetchez la vache! - click to book here.

Spamalot now offers a 2-4-1 ticket offer on Tuesday performances, click here to find out more.

Joe Pasquale stars as King Arthur until 27th July 2013 and a new summer schedule comes into effect as of 1st July. Monday - Thursday 8pm, Friday 6pm & 9pm and Saturday at 2:30pm and 8pm.

Joe Pasquale finishes off the year playing Muddles in pantomime at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, click here to buy tickets!

Cast List: Joe Pasquale, Bonnie Langford, Michael Burgen, Robin Armstrong, Rob Delaney, Adam Ellis, Kit Orton, Jon Robyns, Eric Idle*, Anouska Eaton, Chris Jenkins, Hannah Malekzad, James Nelson, Nikki Bentley, Graham Newell, Matthew Russell-Jones

*As a visual recording! As they say, "As if we could afford Eric Idle, the God-like comic in these hard times!"

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