BWW Reviews: Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre's SPAMALOT Delivers Laughs
Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre's Spamalot Delivers Laughs
August 11, 2013, Great Falls Performing Arts Center, Auburn, Maine
The Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre, one of Maine's oldest community theatres, is closing its 2012-2013 season with a madcap production of Monty Python's Spamalot. The energetic ensemble directed by John Blanchette and Richard Martin romps through the zany script and songs with élan.
The co-directors manage to keep the pace as brisk as possible, given the constraints of the physical production, and they solve the demands of the numerous visual gags ingeniously. Blanchette and Martin utilize the aisles for entrances and exits and involve the audience when the actors break proscenium near the end of the show.
Martin, who also designed the sets and lighting, makes the most of the limited resources of the Great Falls Performing Arts Center auditorium, which has a dated lighting grid and no fly space, thereby requiring all scenery to be rolled out manually from the wings. The flats are attractively painted, and the various fantastic props, managed by Glynnis Nadel, are appropriately unwieldy and humorous. The large wooden rabbit and the massive cow are examples of scene stealing visual jokes. (Only the exploding killer rabbit misses its mark.) The lighting design is workmanlike.
Music director Paul G. Caron leads the fourteen piece Scott Adair Orchestra in John Du Prez and Eric Idle's hilariously derivative score. Much of the fun in this spoof lies in the musical allusions, a veritable index to Broadway hits from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim, Jule Styne, and gospel. That the musicians are playing in a third floor room, their music piped in, does alter the overall acoustic, tamping what would likely be a richer, more present sound were there a pit. Nevertheless, sound designer Derek Johnson manages to balance the live, miked actors with the canned orchestration, skillfully minimizing the difference in dynamic.
The costumes by Pat Spilecki are inventive - lumpish or outrageous as needed. Choreography by Vincent Ratsavong and Rebecca Caron is a sprightly parody of Broadway dance idioms.
As Arthur, King of the Britons, John B. Nutting displays a fine baritone, good command of dialect, and an appealing pomposity. Sean Wallace is a delightfully dense, conceited Lancelot and an amusing French Taunter, though in the latter role his accent is inconsistent. Derrick Lacasse is a narcissistic Galahad with a bright, sunny voice. John Daggett makes the most of the cowardly Sir Robin - (though he,too,has dialect difficulties) - and pulls out all the stops in his rousing Act II song and dance solo.
Rhonda Webber makes a voluptuous and earthy Lady of the Lake as she lends her powerful mezzo to big numbers like Find Your Grail. David Handley is an amusing, mousy Patsy. Michael Litchfield as the Historian, Minstrel, and Prince Herbert (among other parts) makes the most impressive vocal contribution with his luminous, well-focused tenor and strong musicality, and he is uproariously fey as the gay Prince Herbert.
The camaraderie that a show like Spamalot engenders among cast and crew is palpable throughout this production, and on this occasion, the infectious high spirits of the ensemble crossed the footlights so that at curtain call when the company broke into Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, the cheering audience made it a sing along!
Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre, Celeste Philippon, Artistic Director. Spamalot runs until August 18, 2013 at The Great Falls Performing Arts Center, 30 Academy Street, Auburn, ME. For tickets and information, call 207-783-0958 or visit www.LACLT.org
Photos: Courtesy of LACLT