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BWW Reviews: Candlelight Pavilion's SPAMALOT Is Tunefully Staged


Monty Python'sSpamalot/book & lyrics by Eric Idle/music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle/directed by Chuck Ketter/Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre, Claremont/through October 19

Part Monty Python and the Holy Grail, part Mel Brooks' History of the World Part I, and The Producers all rolled into one, there is enough silliness here to make us forget our woes. If lots of sight gags, double entendres, and grotesque/crass behavior are your tea cup - and I mean, NO plotline - then Spamalot - a delicious take off on Camelot - is for you! I frankly think a little of it goes a long, long way, but, naturally, I cannot overlook the splendid production values of the current Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theatre show and its uber talented cast.

Raymond Ingram lends his tasty deadpan to a very merry band of knights in "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". Chelsea Emma Franko, as The Lady of the Lake, is a scrumptious feast all by herself. And...what a range of vocal versatility! I am so very proud of her achievements in local theatre over the past few years; she has grown and grown beautifully. Others worthy of praise include cute Emerson Boatwright as lovely Prince Herbert, Jotape Lockwood daunting ... and gay! - as Lancelot, Bryan Vickery, divinely self-absorbed as Sir Dennis Galahad, Adam Trent a hoot as Patsy, Arthur's befuddled sidekick - and what a dancer! He can really execute those jumps nicely. Matt Dallal as Sir Robin and others is very funny and exceedingly talented with voices. Kudos to the entire ensemble for some spectacular tap dancing, with nifty choreography from Janet Renslow, and for the nonstop merriment. The Theatre Company's sets and costumes are colorful to look at, and Ketter's overall direction is a fast-paced knockout! This is a monster of a show for any regional theatre to mount and Candlelight carries it all off with aplomb.

Relating my original feelings about this show...when I first saw a scene from the film Porky's Revenge, I quickly switched channels. I might have done the same for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, had I seen it. But, alas... there is humor in the lame - how can one not smile at the Black Knight and his flesh wounds! or howl at the Frenchmen and their copious farting or guffaw at the oversized wooden RABBIT - and God knows, in this day and age, do we ever need to laugh!!

An added treat this time are the original Broadway orchestrations backing up the show. John DuPrez and Eric Idle's deliriously funny numbers like "Find Your Grail", "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" (without Jews), "The Song That Goes Like This", "The Diva's Lament" - a great turn for Franko, and the aforementioned "...Bright Side of Life" are done proud by some pretty great singing from this ensemble.

As always, the food and service at Candlelight are fantastic, and with Spamalot, there are some nifty drink specials for only $5. I enjoyed a Holy Grail, which is but one of three delectable treats, including Laker Girl Lager and The Trojan Rabbit. Try one!

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From This Author Don Grigware