BWW Review: SPAMALOT at Playhouse Theatre, Glen Eden, Auckland
Producer: Playhouse Theatre Company
Director: Chris Lane
Musical Directors: Courtney Noble and Bickio O'Callahan
Choreography: Ellen-moana Smith
Playhouse Theatre Incorporated has assembled a cast of stellar performers for their production of "Spamalot" which opened on Saturday night. The laughter and vibe of fun amongst the audience was a testament to the high energy and talent on the stage.
All performers more-than-ably delivered the offbeat humour with the right ingredients of 'silly seriousness', singing extremely well, and dancing like pros - all with the consistently high energy required.
"Spamalot " is often billed as a 'musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail,'
It is two full hours of hilarious nonsense.
The original screenplay was a collaboration of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. There must have been a lot of laughs during the writing of this script!
John DuPrez and Eric Idle wrote the music and Eric Idle wrote the book and lyrics. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005 and won a Tony Award for Best Musical while being nominated for a total of 14 awards.
This show demands high energy from everyone and there is no let-up on stage. With a smaller cast, particularly the dance troupe, everyone worked that much harder. The acting, singing and dancing were delivered with energy and talent. Bravo to the performers! While some of the big entrances were not 'there' the talent of the cast made up for it.
The characterisation was brilliant; perfect delivery of lines requiring pitch, pause and pace in all the right places.
Facial expressions were on point and the satire, slapstick and irony well infused.
The quality of the dancing was particularly high and the choreography perfectly supported the silliness with quirky moves and tap dancing, all very well performed by everyone.
At times the space on the stage was not well utilised but the cast seemed to quickly work that out and amended it on the fly. The choreography was certainly good enough to be showcased rather than within the action.
The orchestra was excellent and accolades to the musical directors for their fine work. Vocals were rich and harmonies delivered with ease.
King Arthur (Brett Whyte) is suitably serious and Whyte's deep voice perfect for the role. His rendition of 'I'm all alone' with the hilarious reactions of Patsy (Andrew Chisholm) was one of the many highs we enjoyed.
Doreen Kemeys as 'The Lady of the Lake' was simply sensational; deadpan face delivering hugely challenging vocals with ease and huge comedy value.
I knew Michael Potts was a beautiful singer with a rich voice and that he could act but I can now add a fabulous comedian to his lists of gifts.
Robin Lane truly owned his role as Sir Bedevere and was simply hilarious. He had the audience in the palm of his hand and we wanted to laugh the second we saw him. He gave a new life to deadpan.
Blair Annison-Chisholm is charisma personified and again not only faultless but clever in his delivery of Sir Robin. He was a favourite amongst favourites.
In multiple roles and popping up unexpectedly was Julian Toy-Cronin who had the most excellent French accent as the French Taunter when he wasn't leaping about as Sir Lancelot, Sir Tim and the absurdly funny Knight of Khi. His versatility was outstanding as he did not miss a beat with any of these characters.
The ensemble had to work hard in this show and particularly notable was John Moloney. From his tap dancing and his multitude of facial expressions he was totally on point and gave nothing but the highest of energy to all that he did.
You need a good laugh to compensate for the seemingly endless rain and wind.
Playhouse Theatre has got the perfect antidote.
Go enjoy the array of talent on stage at Glen Eden.
Playhouse Theatre Company
28th September - 12th October