BWW Reviews: Short North Stage's SPAMALOT Captures Lunacy of Monty Python

Photo by Adam Zeek
Photo: Adam Zeek

Monty Python is the kind of like the sushi of the entertainment world. At first glance, people either devour it and love it or they poke at it with a fork and think "What in God's name is that?"

It's non-sequitur entertainment. It makes no sense and that is the point of it. The Short North Stage was able to recapture the lunacy of the 1975 cult film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in its production of MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT. The two-act musical opened March 23 and runs through April 15 at the Garden Theatre (1187 North High Street in downtown Columbus).

"The Holy Grail," was listed along with "Old School," "Caddyshack," and "The Princess Bride," was listed among the top 18 most quoted movies of all time by Esquire Magazine. The production surprisingly captures all the madness of the film, right down to the Playbill. The program for the show opens with an introduction to "Dik Od Triaanenen Fol," a play on The Holy Grail's" fake opening credits which were done in Finnish

Each "Holy Grail" fan has his or her personal favorite scene, so pairing down a musical version of it must have seemed like a formidable task when it debuted on Broadway in 2005. While the "I'm not a witch" scene and the bloody finale were eliminated, SPAMALOT captures the essence of the film and yet adds its own unique touches to its reimaging, so the audience is not just watching a DVD with a new soundtrack. The show also takes subtle jabs at a host of other musicals, most notably WICKED, LES MISERABLES, BEAUTY AND THE BEST, and WEST SIDE STORY.

SNS cast's spirited performance enriches the script of Monty Python alum Eric Idle, who also helped write SEUSSICAL: THE MUSICAL. Only the role of King Arthur (played by Tim Browning) and the Lady of the Lake (Danielle Grays) remain the same throughout the show. The troupe of knights Nick Lingnofski (Sir Robin), Kyle Snyder (Sir Lancelot), Nathan Robert Pecchia (Sir Galahad), and Ryan Kopycinski (Sir Bedevere) and Aaron Choi (Patsy) play a total of 15 roles in the show.

Browning brings a dignified, restrained performance as Arthur, including a tap-dancing number where Patsy follows him around providing the beats on coconut husks. Grays showcases her range as a singer, channeling a range of performers including a Liza Minelli impersonation. Her duet with Pecchia in "The Song That Goes Like This" is one of the show's highlights.

Choi stretches the role of Patsy, a minor character in the movie, into a focal point of the production. Lingnofski elevates the role of Robin from sidekick to star and Snyder pulls the closeted Lancelot into the spotlight.

SPAMALOT is a not to be missed event for Monty Python aficionados and for those not afraid to sample from the non-sequitur style of comedy.

SPAMALOT will be presented at 8 p.m. March 25, 30-31, April 1, 6-8, and 13-15 as well as at 3 p.m. matinees on March 26 and April 2 and 9 and a 2 p.m. matinee on April 15 at the Garden Theatre (1187 N. High Street in downtown Columbus.

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