Sometimes a little silliness is just the thing to take your mind off everyday realities. For anyone suffering from election season fatigue, there’s no better cure than N.C. Theatre’s hilarious production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
The 2005 Broadway musical and the 1975 film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” on which it’s based, have attained cult status for Python fans. But for those not under the Python spell, especially any who think such knockabout, pun-laden humor is not for them, be prepared for a surprising seduction. The jokes and pratfalls come so fast and furious, if one gag doesn’t strike you as particularly funny, a few seconds later you’ll be howling with laughter at another.
While the plot is ostensibly about King Arthur and his knights (although here they’re bumbling, accident-prone nitwits), the show is actually a clever spoof of every type of musical production, from Las Vegas to Andrew Lloyd Webber. With the script’s constant anachronisms and topical references, along with some teasing bawdiness, it’s easy to simply give in to it and enjoy.
Director Jennifer Werner, choreographer Brian J. Marcum and music director James Cunningham combine their knowing talents to give the production the perfect balance of playing a scene’s crazy reality and letting the audience in on the joke. The sets, costumes and props from Phoenix Entertainment are virtually identical to the Broadway production, adding further professional polish.
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Twenty-one cast members impress mightily with their multiple roles, energetic dancing and strong singing. Leading the pack is Jeff McCarthy’s imperious, frustrated Arthur and Brandon Haagenson’s lovable Patsy, Arthur’s faithful, under-appreciated servant. Jacob Smith’s Sir Galahad is zanily narcissistic, and when joined by Ta’Rea Campbell’s sizzling Lady of the Lake, the pair sings the evening’s highlight, “The Song That Goes Like This,” parodying over-the-top Broadway anthems. Campbell also stops the show with several big numbers displaying her powerful vocal chops.
James Ludwig’s scaredy-cat Sir Robin gets laughs as he discovers his Broadway show genes. So does Danny Bernardy’s Lancelot as he finds his amorous attentions drawn to Pierce Cassedy’s not-quite-a maiden in distress, Prince Herbert.
With all the elements under expert control, N.C Theatre’s snappy production can be prescribed for whatever ails you.
Where: Memorial Auditorium, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16-20: 2 p.m. Nov. 19-20
Info: 919-831-6941 or nctheatre.com