BWW Review: MARIN SHAKESPEARE'S SPAMALOT KEEPS AUDIENCES IN LAUGHS-A-LOT NOW THRU AUGUST 25
Marin Shakespeare Company is celebrating its 30th anniversary season by staging their first musical, none other than Monty Python's Spamalot. Seriously, what better show for the Bard-exclusive company to do than one that was written by fellow Brits and Monty Python alums Eric Idle and John Du Prez. Idle was, of course, part of the original Python company, while Du Prez wrote much of the music for the comedy group. Marin Shakespeare's Spamalot is an altogether delightful and uproariously zany production that has their audiences laughing almost non-stop throughout the show. Playing its final week now through August 25, Spamalot is a not-to-be-missed, hugely enjoyable show.
From fish-shlapping Finns to self-flagellating monks and flatulent French "taunters," the show was a spectacle to behold. Jarion Monroe plays the quintessential regal King Arthur, but with a superb dash of Pythonesque eccentricity that set the tone and anchored the show. Never out of the king's shadow was his coconut-clacking, faithful sidekick, Patsy (a hilarious Bryan Munar) who was fed treats by the King whenever he behaved well. Also at the King's side is his sword, "Excalibur," given to him by the Lady of the Lake (Susan Zelinsky).
Zelinsky is a force of comedic nature with the dazzling vocal chops to perform this demanding part. It's a plum role (which won Sara Ramirez a Tony), but it's not a very big part - as her song in Act II, "The Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?)" demonstrates, to great applause.
Robert Currier makes great use of the Forest Meadows small amphitheater stage, filling the boards with a talented ensemble cast that will tap-dance their way into your heart. It's a difficult show to do and for it to work, the timing must be impeccable. Both Currier and musical director Paul Smith proved worthy of the task, teeing it up perfectly for choreographer Rick Wallace to create his great numbers.
Arthur is going about the countryside in search of knights to sit as his "very-very-very round table. Soon enough he finds Sir Dennis Galahad, the Dashingly Handsome (Michael P. McDonald), Sir Lancelot the Homicidally Brave (Ariel Zuckerman) and Sir Robin, the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot (Phillip Percy Williams). Together they form a band of knights spreading joy and comedy throughout the land.
But lest we forget the Python critique of the upper class, it shines throughout the show - but especially in the scene when the King tries to recruit Dennis to be Sir Galahad. Dennis isn't awed by Arthur at all. "Oh, king, eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the social and economic differences in our society!" That definitely got a knowing laugh here in the bay area.
Suddenly out of nowhere God appears and sends them on a quest for the Holy Grail. This leads to many adventures and discoveries, such as when a closeted Sir Lancelot is danced-and-sung out of the closet and into the waiting arms of the sweetly effeminate Prince Herbert (the wonderfully versatile and hilarious Joseph Patrick O'Malley - who also plays Not Dead Fred and the Historian.)
Spamalot is quite simply a sidesplitting good time. The zany, whacked-out humor of Monty Python is professionally served up by the wonderful cast and crew of the Marin Shakespeare Company.
So...when you're feeling in the dumps, don't be silly chumps...
Go see Spamalot - but hurry because it closes on August 25 and you don't want to miss it!