Review: SPAMALOT Looks on the Bright Side of Life at City Springs Theatre

Monty Python's best on stage in Sandy Springs.

Souls Grown Deep Elects Board Chair Lola C. West

I can think of 1, 2, 5 - no, 3! - different reasons you should see SPAMALOT at City Springs Theatre and they all start with the letter Monty and end with the letter Python. This raucous show runs from March 10th through March 26th at the Byers Theatre. Full of lewd jokes, flashy numbers, and a multitude of marvelous voices, SPAMALOT is a riotously good time.

First things first, there should be a flash/strobe light warning for this show. When you see it, please be aware that this production contains flashing strobe lights that some audience members may find distressing, triggering, or disorienting.

Souls Grown Deep Elects Board Chair Lola C. WestThe stage features two, vaulted castle walls, complete with windows, bookending the playing space, and an ever-revolving middle piece that gets flipped and reversed quite a lot in Tim Hatley's stage design. Gorgeous and expensive forests, semi-practical castle facades, and full-stage projections create a magical experience.

Also acting as the costume designer, Tim Hatley's looks are at times to die for. Flash, glitter, and sheen are the name of the game. Mud occasionally makes an appearance, but most of the costumes for this show feel like they could easily be found either on the Vegas Strip or at your local Renaissance Festival.

Large follow spots roam around the stage and colorful, flashing lights dance a rainbow-type dance in Dalton Hamilton's lighting design. With some moments more dramatic and some more playful, the lighting is consistently flashy, animated, and appropriate to the moment.

Souls Grown Deep Elects Board Chair Lola C. WestBooming voices, falling cows, and Camelot coin slots are just a few of the special sounds you'll get to hear thanks to Anthony Narciso's sound design. Coupled with an amazing live orchestra conducted by music director Greg Matteson, your ears will be ripe for hearing some gaudy, bawdy, and beautiful things.

Wigs abound and wig designers Russ Williamson and Alycia Berry must've been kept busy by the multitude of characters, quick changes, and headdresses. Each is more fabulous than the last, with some not even being made of hair but crystals that sparkle and dance with each actor's movements.

Playing the one and only King Arthur, Googie Uterhardt is the guiding light of this show around which all the other characters revolve. With a goofy sense of gravitas, Uterhardt brings a grounding energy to the show in the face of great silliness as King Arthur endeavors to heed God's will.

Souls Grown Deep Elects Board Chair Lola C. WestDavid Rossetti's main role is as the "brave" Sir Robin, who bravely runs away in the face of great danger. Rosetti brings a fabulously fun energy to the show with great comedic instincts. Nick Walker Jones runs about playing some of the most recognizable Monty Python characters including Sir Lancelot and Tim the Enchanter. Walker Jones's keen abilities help him live up to the highly-anticipated jokes while bringing something new.

Kristine Reese plays the effervescent Lady of the Lake, the watery woman who bestows Aruthr's kinghood on him by giving him the sword Excalibur. Reese has one of the strongest vocal performances in this show, hitting high notes and holding belts in a truly impressive way.

Roberto Méndez clicks coconuts together with pride as the perfect human backpack, Patsy. Méndez has an excellent physical quality, allowing him to be funny without saying a word, and brings a lot of heart to fair Patsy. Billy Harrigan Tighe plays the infamous Black Knight and the beautiful Sir Galahad. Harrigan Tighe hams both roles up in the most delightfully melodramatic way.

Souls Grown Deep Elects Board Chair Lola C. WestTyler Pirrung is not dead yet as Not Dead Fred and floats like a fairy as Prince Herbert. Pirrung has an incredible sense of character, bringing a distinct feel to each of his roles, and a wonderful sense of fun that is impossible not to get wrapped up in. Kyle Robert Carter is best known in the show as Sir Bedevere, the flatulently inclined knight of Arthur's round table. As he bounces around the stage, Robert Carter brings an imaginative sense of play that radiates around him.

Whether they be fellow knights of the round table, literal laker girls, or some other third thing (like townspeople, guards, or even a rabid rodent) the ensemble members of this show bring their all to each role in a delightful way. Each performer lends a bit of their own personality to their performance, which makes the show that much richer.

Souls Grown Deep Elects Board Chair Lola C. WestWhat stood out the most to me when I saw the show was how outdated some of the writing is. The women in this show, especially the ensemble, occasionally feel like objects, sometimes even going so far as playing food. I found the lyrics of the song, "You Won't Succeed on Broadway," out-of-date and I wish the alternative lyrics had been considered. Now nearly 20 years old, some of SPAMALOTS's "topical references," aren't quite so topical anymore.

Liz Legrande's choreography is fantastic to behold. Full of high-energy, quick movements, and stellar staging the dancing adds a deeper layer of story to the show. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the singing in this show is marvelous. John Clanton's vocal direction keeps it sharp, in tune, on time, and with a wonderfully bright quality.

So whether you're in the mood for some classic John Cleese or a fully-bodied musical with fun and flash, you're in the mood for City Spring's SPAMALOT. Don't miss your chance to spin the slots at Camelot!

Souls Grown Deep Elects Board Chair Lola C. West

SPAMALOT is playing from March 10th - March 26th, get your tickets here!


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