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Review: MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT at Columbus Immersive Theatre

The Garden Theatre will only offer 15% (44 seats) of its full capacity to keep shows safe and socially distanced with audience members required to wear face coverings.

Review: MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT at Columbus Immersive Theatre

Before its 2004 debut on Broadway, MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT, Eric Idle's musical take on the cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail, raised a few eyebrows. Python purists wondered if a musical could capture the lunacy of the 1975 film. Broadway aficionados wondered if there would be a place for Monty Python's brand of humor on the Great White Way.

Judging by the reaction of the socially distant, but energetic crowd at the opening night of the Columbus Immersive Theatre's production at the Garden Theatre, the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. The Edward Carignan-directed production was able to recapture the British humor while adding and updating the songs of Idle and John Du Prez in the 90-minute musical.

The show runs from March 18- April 3 on both live and virtual stages at the Garden Theatre (1187 N. High Street). The Garden Theatre will only offer 25% (65 seats) of its full capacity to keep shows safe and socially distanced with audience members required to wear face coverings at all times. Some of these protocols have been worked into the show with all of the Knights of the Round Table wearing masks and having a gong strike when two characters were supposed to kiss.

The performance loosely follows the plot of the aforementioned Holy Grail. However, since the film version only contained a handful of songs like, "Camelot" and "The Ballad of Sir Robin," Idle adds several new songs and then stole some other pieces from Python's The Life of Brian and the television show "Monty Python's Flying Circus." As a result, some of SPAMALOT seems like a patchwork quilt of previous songs and sketches into the show as well as turning other parts of the movie into songs.

That being said, Idle is a talented musician, with over 150 songs to his credit. He was a co-conceiver of SEUSSICAL: THE MUSICAL as well as one of the driving forces behind The Rutles, a brilliant mockumentary/parody of the Beatles, with Innes. SPAMALOT'S best song, The Song That Goes On Too Long, is cleverly wordsmithed into a caricature of nearly every Broadway show-stopping ballad: "A sentimental song/If it casts a magic spell/They only hum along/We'll over-act like Hell/Oh, this is the song that goes like this." In the CIT version, Amber Knicole (who plays the divaesque Lady of the Lake) and Luke Bovenizer (Sir Gallahad) perfected the over-the-top delivery and added in hilarious social distance protocols of only touching each other with long prosthetic limbs.

Knicole, the singer of funk band Mojo Flo, and Jordan Stocksdale (King Arthur) weave together a strong chemistry as the focal points of the show. However, nearly everyone -- Ariel Messeca (Sir Lancelot), Cody Schmid (Sir Robin), Cody Westbrook (Herbert), Joe Gallagher (Patsy), Bovenizer (Sir Gallahad), and Ryan Kopycinski (Sir Bedevere) - gets a turn in the spotlight. Each actor adds his own flair to the show and plays about four or five different characters in the musical as did the Python troupe in the original movie.

The show has a talented ensemble of Bill Goldsmith (historian), and Avery Bank, Patrick Carmichael, Ian Charles, Rachel Courtney, Lauren Drexel, and Dionysia Williams, who co-choreographed the show with Carignan.

The Columbus Immersive Theatre presents MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT 7 p.m. March 18-20, 25-27, and April 1-3. Additionally there will be 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on March 21, March 28 and April 4.

Photos: First look at Curtain Players GOODBYE FREDDY Photo
On the occasion of Freddy's funeral and at his behest, six of his friends gather at the home of Hank and Kate in Kansas City, where five of them grew up. Hank and Kate were childhood sweethearts whose apparently idyllic relationship has proceeded uninterrupted through the years. Andy and Nessa were childhood sweethearts also, but are now divorced and living in New York. He's a successful advertising executive; she's the author of a bestselling roman à clef based on her friends' lives. Paul is the new Undersecretary for Eastern Affairs in Washington, and his wife, Alice, the only one who has not known the others since grammar school, is a housewife obsessed with the many infidelities she imagines Paul has committed. Hovering over them all is the spirit of Freddy, the only admitted homosexual in the group. As the liquor flows and memories (and recriminations) become more telling, Hank, in an emotional outburst, admits that he had been having an affair with Freddy for years prior to his death. Kate is overwhelmed by this revelation, the friends take sides and, as the night winds down into morning, facades are stripped away as no-holds-barred truth-telling replaces the party atmosphere with which the evening began. In the end Hank and Kate agree to strive for a more honest relationship, and the others, each in his or her own way affected by the absent Freddy, resolve to use the legacy of directness and honesty which he left them to set their own lives on firmer paths. Performances run Dec. 2 - 18, 2022 at Curtain Players, 5691 Harlem Road, Galena, Ohio 43021. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit:

Photos: First look at Pickerington Community Theatres FROZEN JR Photo
A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Disney Frozen Jr. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Disney Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart! Performances run Dec. 2 - 11, 2022 at the Wigwam Theater 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Road, Pickerington, OH 43147. For tickets:

Photos: First look at Ohio University Lancaster Theatre Departments ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE:  Photo
Ohio University Lancaster Theatre, The Lancaster Playhouse, and Garret Players presents 'It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.' Adapted by Joe Landry, Music by Kevin Connors. PLOT: This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. It's a Wonderful Life is based on the story, 'The Greatest Gift' by Philip Van Doren Stern, Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. TICKETS, $10.

Photos: Inside MVAC & MTVarts A CHRISTMAS STORY Photo
A young boy named Ralphie Parker only wants one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB gun. However, he is not sure he will ever make it to Christmas, between his brother Randy and the school bully Scut Farkus. Whenever he tells someone how much he wants it, he/she tells him that he will shoot his eye out and refuses to get it for him. Even a department store Santa Claus tells him the same thing. Upcoming Events for MTVarts and MVAC: 'A Night of One-Acts', January 13 - 15, 2023, at Warehouse 14. Paul Reiser: Live Stand Up Comedy, Fri 3/3/2023 8:00 PM, at The Knox Memorial Theater. Community Concert Association Divas 3, Sun 3/19/2023 7:30 PM, at the Knox Memorial Theater For tickets for upcoming events or more information, visit: &

From This Author - Paul Batterson

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