BWW Reviews: Boulder's Dinner Theater Creates Hilarious, Medieval Magic with Monty Python's SPAMALOT!
The quest for the Holy Grail finds it way to Boulder with the Tony award-winning comedic smash hit, Monty Python's SPAMALOT playing at Boulder's Dinner Theatre playing now through March 1st. Rude Frenchmen, can-can dancers, the Lady of the Lake and her Laker Girls, killer rabbits, catapulting cows, and the somewhat odd Knights who say "Ni" are just part of the adventures and dangers awaiting King Arthur and his knights of the very, very, very round table in their quest for the holy grail. Lovingly ripped off from the motion picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, SPAMALOT (with book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle) is the fresh and irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend. It features references to "Monty Python's Flying Circus" skits - The Lumberjack Song, Spam, and Dead Parrot Sketch.
The talented cast shows off their superb comedic skills with perfect timing of Monty Python's cunning sarcasm, witty banter, and amusing wordplay. Combine that with over the top memorable characters, fun staging and choreography, and excellent voices and Boulder's Dinner Theater has yet another fantastic show on their very capable hands! The thing that I was most impressed by was so many actors (Brian Jackson, Brett Ambler, Brian Norber, Scott Severtson, and Bob Hoppe) that were able to show off their diversity by pulling off so many different impressionable and hilarious roles and honoring the iconic Pythonic humor in the process. There are so many comedic gems and precious moments in this show that I could talk about it for several more paragraphs, so here are a couple of my personal favorites - those fabulous Laker Girls that pumped up the energy and the musical with one cheer; We're Knights of the Roundtable featuring this fun filled cast; the hilarious Taunting Frenchman with airborne cattle; Alicia ravaging the song, Find Your Grail; the side-splitting, You Won't Succeed on Broadway that became an instant favorite of mine; the song, Where are You with the surprise announcement of Sir Lancelot and the ever so amusing big gay number after (His Name is Lancelot)! Additional highlight numbers include I am Not Dead yet, The Song That Goes Like This, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, and The Diva's Lament. Keep in mind - this show is naughty and sexually suggestive, but just enough!
Wayne Kennedy truly shines in the lead role of King Arthur and I adored his renditions of King Arthur's Song and I'm Still Alone. Wayne has this gift of making his characters light and warm hearted thus drawing the audience in and having us fall in love with him and his exceptional roles performance after performance! Alicia Dunfee proved once again that she is divalicious in her melodramatic and humorous portrayal as the Lady of the Lake. In addition to keeping the audience smiling she impressed them even more with amazing vocals in The Song That Goes Like This, Find Your Grail, and her show stopping Divas Lament. While Wayne and Alicia led the quest, it was the following gifted actors that did all the heavy lifting with a cornucopia of diverse and memorable roles. Each of these actors found that balance between slapstick and over the top acting to make their characters hilarious. Brett Ambler showed off his versatile comedic skills with an array of memorable and hilarious characters including Not Dead Fred and Prince Herbert. His signature songs, I am Not Dead Yet and Where Are You had me and the audience in stitches. Brian Jackson was also sensational in his diversity with his oh so funny interpretations of Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter, Knight of Ni. Brian Norber was also so cute as Dennis' crotchety mother and the flatulent Sir Belvedere. Bob Hoppe took his turn to shine in the memorable and fun number You Won't Succeed on Broadway and his questionably brave Sir Robin had the audience laughing. Scott Severtson brought his comedic game to the round table as the philosophical, Sir Dennis Galahad and Prince Herbert's father. Scott Beyette gave an adorable performance as King Arthur's servant, Patsy and I loved his wide array of facial expressions. In addition he totally made the movie's timeless classic, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life his own with a twinkle in his eye.
Director and choreographer Piper Lindsay Arpan brought her intimate and first hand Broadway knowledge of this comedic gem and infused into this wonderful production. She hit every comedic cue and nailed the crucially timed wordplay; and let her cast have fun with this musical and it showed through and through. Music Conductor Neal Dunfee was also essential in this production by combining great voices for the big numbers while keeping the fun up and the show flowing with his energetic band. Amy Campion once again transports us into the medieval times with her awesome set design and creative set pieces. Lighting by designer Rachael Dugan and sound by Wayne Kennedy was also spot on and enhanced every scene and the blending with the vocals and the band were perfect. The costume design by Linda Morken with armor fabrication and design by Todd Debreceni was another highlight of the show. The costumes were full of color, variety, and textiles and I loved awesome armor that completed the looks of the knights. The addition of the massive cow that surprised the entire audience and whomever created that adorable, yet sadistic killer rabbit puppet should also be praised.
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