BWW Reviews: 'Look on the Bright Side' with Shadowbox Live's SPAMALOT
The hardest working theater troupe in Central Ohio is currently delivering its Stev Guyer-ized version of "Monty Python's Spamalot." The 2005 musical by Eric Idle and John Du Prez was "lovingly ripped off" from the motion picture 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and while audience members will appreciate some uniquely Shadowbox additions and a bit of Central Ohio humor (notably, among others, Gym Ganahl as "Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show"), Python fans will find this version to be of the goofy, flamboyant, and totally inane flavor expected.
In Arthurian fashion, the Spamalot knights set off on a most unusual quest to find the Holy Grail, a "schwubbery", and a Jew to perform a Broadway musical- not necessarily in that order- with variably comedic results. Tom Cardinal dresses the part of King Arthur well and delivers his lines with regality, gusto, and perfect comedic timing. His sidekick, Amy Lay as Patsy, adds the perfect coconut-clapping, goofiness to create an endearing dynamic duo. Accompanying the two are David Whitehouse as Sir Lancelot, Robbie Nance as Sir Robin, JT Walker III as Sir Galahad, and Jim Andes as Sir Bedevere, all of which create campy, silly, bits throughout, as does Andy Ankrom's amusing "Not Dead Fred". Also notable, Stephanie Shull gets her diva on as "The Lady of the Lake", delivering some of the show's more impressive vocal performances.
The costumes by Amy Lay, Linda Mullin, and Nick Wilson, are lovely throughout, while ranging from medieval to glittzy, and compliment an otherwise unusual stark set. The Spamalot Band (Dante Wehe, Harley Wolfe, BranDon Smith, Jeff Crisafulli, Kevin Sweeny, and JT Walker III) do their best to make the score lively, despite its rather lackluster nature. However, the comedy of this show is slower paced and way tamer than usual for Shadowbox, and at times the energy suffers as such. While I enjoyed the show at its face value for its snarky Python irreverence, I have to admit that I left feeling as if the powerhouse talent this troupe contains was horribly underutilized in this production. I can't remember a visit to Shadowbox that didn't leave me in complete awe, but this show never really allowed the kind of fall-on-the-floor laughfest, take-your-breath-away vocals, or eye-popping dance numbers I've come to expect from Shadowbox. So, Python fans, enjoy your moment, because there's no stopping Shadowbox from blowin' it out the 'box, with or without Trojan bunnies and God grenades.
Shadowbox Live presents "Spamalot" at 503 S. Front Street, Columbus, 43215, Sundays at 2pm and 7pm now through November 17th. For additional information, go to: www.shadowboxlive.org
PHOTO CREDIT: Shadowbox Live