It's a bold and bawdy production that definitely lives up or down to the silly standards that Monty Python fans have come to expect. Of course, that's exactly what the show delivers with a wickedly naughty book and lyrics created by Python's quirky Eric Idle in musical collaboration with John Du Prez.
The deliciously demented pair have taken a fractured fairy tale approach to blatantly send up everything about King Arthur's legendary Camelot court, leaving “no turn unstoned” in the madcap process. Anachronistic, time-tweaked touches abound throughout, such as having cheerleading “Laker Girls” shake their pom-poms in support of battling knights.
It's a crazy-quilt, medieval, rowdy, Vegas-style romp, complete with songs and dances that suddenly arise for no apparent good reason but having fun.
On the other hand, there are some terrifically entertaining numbers that give the featured characters a chance to individually shine. In particular, Brandi Lacy's impressively delivers powerhouse vocals as the lusty Lady of the Lake who has eyes for Edward Olsen's holy grail-seeking Arthur. Although Olsen is not really a singer, like Rex Harrison's Professor Higgins he sells his songs with sheer, booming panache.
Another border-line vocalist but outstanding actor is Dmitry Tokarsky who displays a surprising variety of accents and outrageous personas including Lancelot; a gross and rude taunting Frenchman and the stubborn Black Knight who famously continues fighting after losing his arms and legs.
Also showcasing their versatile talents in multiple roles are Tyler Egerer and Anthony Mankins -- both solid actor/singers who delightfully morph in and out of characters ranging from Arthur's cowardly knight Robin to a not-so-gallant Galahad. They couldn't be better, nailing each of their parts with hilarious results.
More praise goes to Bobby Amirkhanian. He takes the stage as Arthur's loyal sidekick Patsy who uses coconut shells to provide the hoof-sounds for his monarch's invisible horse. He also proves to be a surprisingly nifty song-and-dance man.
Another excellent performer is Brandon Day who makes his Ferndale Rep debut a truly memorable one. Among others, he's the show's Historian who speaks directly to the audience as well as the weirdly wonderful Not Dead Fred. Further kudos go to Jeremy Webb as he, too, takes on an array of comedic Python people, including the bumbling knight Sir Bedevere and the simpering wife of Sir Galahad.
However, this is a show that runs on the artistic engine of its talented supporting ensemble who are constantly in motion contributing all of the over-the-top, important comedy shtick that a Monty Pythonesque cast must do to keep things rollicking riotously along.
They sing, they dance, they mug -- and, thanks to director Carol Escobar, they do it with pizzazz. So, major applause for Sara Bell, Daniel Kennedy, Brian Morrison, Brianna Schatz, Molly Severdia, Jessi Shieman, Erik Standifird, Greta and Johanna Turney and Danielle Cichon (who also skillfully choreographed the show's eclectic dance numbers).
Musical director/conductor Dianne Zuleger has assembled a troupe of fine musicians who handily handle Idle's clever score: Laura Welch on piano; Michael Lewis on woodwinds; Jon Turney on bass and percussion; Phil Sams on trombone; Matt Beck on trumpet; and Hilson Parker, Finn Scott-Neff and Ken Burton on drums.
Produced by Greta Stockwell, the technical elements are all quite wonderful especially Daniel Nyiri and Brittany Haynes' scenic design of the “castle.” Telfer Reynolds' lighting, Howard Lang's sound and Daniel Lawrence's special effect designs also add immensely to the visual feast.
The most amazing thing that makes this “Spamalot” such a treat is the unbelievably complex costume, wig and make-up designs and special props needed to put this show on the Ferndale Rep stage in such a colorful, medieval fashion, collaboratively created by Jenneveve Hood, April Grenot, Laura Rhinehart and Olson.
Suitable for mature audiences, “Spamalot” will make you laugh a lot! This madcap musical comedy closes on April 6. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $18 general; $16 seniors/students. For tickets, call 786-5483, or visit ferndalerep.org.
If you go
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays.
Where: Ferndale Repertory Theatre, 447 Main St.
Admission: $18 general, $16 seniors/students