BWW Reviews: SPAMALOT, Swansea Grand Theatre, Feb 2011

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Review_SPAMALOT_at_the_Swansea_Grand_Theatre_20010101

Somewhere in an England (or possibly Finland) that never quite existed a thousand years ago (but maybe should have!), there was a King and some Knights and a Lady Of The Lake, some people who are "not dead yet", taunters with outrageous French accents, killer rabbits and men on stilts who love shrubberies - who set out on a quest to put on a musical called Spamalot. And now this Pythonesque show, which is venturing into the darkest depths of the land on a hugely successful tour, has set up camp in Swansea.

Based on the movie Monty Python And The Holy Grail and lovingly adapted by Eric Idle with music by John Du Prez, the show is full of laugh-a-minute humour which all Python fans will remember and venerate and even non-Python fans will not fail to find amusing. And the score is full of catchy tunes and clever lyrics, with perhaps the highlights being the deliberately over-the-top anti-musical theatre love song "A Song That Goes Like This" and the Act Two show-stopping "Diva's Lament", brilliantly belted out by Lady Of The Lake Jessica Martin.

Director Christopher Luscombe keeps the piece moving along at a perfect pace which makes the show two hours of non-stop fun, ably assisted in this endeavour by every member of the hugely talented ensemble cast. Amongst the principals, Phill Jupitus (the show's latest King Arthur) brings his own wit and humour to the role, endearing himself to the audience throughout. Simon Lipkin sings and acts his multiple roles to perfection, commanding the stage every second he is on it. Kit Orton as Lancelot (and miscellaneous hilarious characters) displays an immense stage presence and hits the button with every moment of humour through his immaculate comic timing. And character actor Todd Carty is an absolute revelation as the King's servant, Patsy - singing, dancing and using facial expressions that draw both laughter and tears from the audience at all the right moments.

In short, an evening at the court of Spamalot is guaranteed to have everyone looking on the bright side of life.

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Robert Gould Robert Gould is a graduate of the University of Wales, Swansea, a former teacher, a writer of history books for schools (The French Revolution and European Nationalism, 1848-71) and the librettist and lyricist of a number of musicals. Collaborating with composer Ty Kroll, he has written the book and lyrics for the musicals, Lovers, Alone and Vocalize!. Concerts of songs from Lovers and Vocalize! were presented at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (in March 2002 and April 2003) and Alone received its world premiere staging in Madison, Wisconsin in April 2003. He has co-written the book & lyrics(with Jimmy Granstrom) for The Dying Game, a musical that speaks for the victims of HIV/AIDS in Africa (with music by Filip von Uexkull, Ty Kroll & Tristan Bons) - which received a showcase production at the Greenwich Musical Futures season in 2005. He wrote lyrics for the Tim Prottey-Jones albums More With Every Line and Surrounded By The Sounds and is currently developing the musical Roundabout with songwriter Joe Sterling and the musicals Based On A True Story, Elephant Juice, Grace Notes, Flop and My Land's Shore with composer Christopher J. Orton.


 

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