BWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's SPAMALOT - As Close to Broadway as You're Going to Get
If you know what I mean when I say things such as "Are you telling me cocoanuts migrate?!?" "She's got huge tracks of land!" and "Ni!" then you're my kind of nerd who understands the joy that is "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". And while musical theater nerds are aware, I was surprised to find out how many others didn't know that the genius of Holy Grail was giddily translated into the musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" which ran off with the Tony for best musical in 2005. And now the 5th Avenue Theatre presents an all local production of the smash hit and with the talent and design at their disposal, it's about as close to the Broadway show as you're going to get (without Jews, of course).
For those unfamiliar with the story, well we can't be friends, but it's the story of King Arthur (Allen Fitzpatrick) and his Knights of the Round Table as they forage through the countryside seeking the Holy Grail and along the way encounter mystical beings, rude Frenchmen and one vicious little rabbit with big sharp nasty pointy teeth. And all told with that certain special Monty Python twist and musicalized by original Python member Eric Idle along with John Du Prez.
The show itself is a feast for Python nerds and musical theater nerds alike with hilarious moments from the film that we can quote along with as well as rousing numbers that will stick with you long after you leave the theater. And as I said, it's almost exactly the Broadway production considering they're using the same costumes and sets by Tim Hatley from Broadway as well as much of the Broadway choreography by Casey Nicholaw.
But don't think it's simply a rehash of the original as director Josh Rhodes and his insane cast all put their own stamps on the characters and the show. Fitzpatrick is wonderful as the slightly clueless King and he and Greg McCormick Allen as his put upon "horse" Patsy, play off each other perfectly. Louis Hobson plays the overly vain Galahad with zeal. Matt Owen is delightful as the timorous Sir Robin and he completely throws himself into his big production number. Richard Gray manages his multiple parts with complete ease and blissful hilarity. But it was Laura Griffith, Dane Stokinger and Joshua Carter who completely sold the show for me. Griffith as the Lady of the Lake manages the showy sultriness of the part well and her voice is 10 times more powerful than Excalibur. And Stokinger and Carter tackle a variety of characters throughout the night and give each one the attention and hilarity they deserve. Plus the two of them look as though they're kids who just got released in a candy/toy store. They're just having that much fun and it translates.
I've now seen the original Broadway production, a touring run and the local 5th Avenue production and I can honestly say the 5th Avenue's is my second favorite. But come on, that's something, considering who was in the original. So if you want to look on the bright side of life, you need look no further than the 5th Avenue's "Monty Python's Spamalot". With my three letter rating system; I give this a resounding YAY with a little NI mixed in for good measure.
"Monty Python's Spamalot" performs at the 5th Avenue Theatre through March 2nd. For tickets or information, contact the 5th Avenue box office at 206-625-1900 or visit them online at www.5thavenue.org.