Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” was selling out so fast, another weekend had to be added even before the show opened, a first in the company’s history.
So, technically, the show doesn’t really need a review. But, happily, it’s also a hit quality-wise, with talented performers, impressive visuals and astute direction.
An unusual aspect of Friday’s opening was the huge wall of laughter at the beginning of most scenes before even a line was spoken. This was anticipation of favorite scenes either from the popular 1975 film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” on which this 2005 Tony-winning musical is based, or from the musical itself, also well known from its long Broadway run and numerous tours.
For those not in the know, it’s a zany version of King Arthur and his knights that can be silly, bawdy, juvenile – and hilariously funny, especially if you simply give into it without questioning logic, taste or propriety.
This production’s best element is its consistency. Patrick Torres beautifully communicates to the cast his canny understanding of the script’s spoofing nature. The actors perfectly balance playing the bizarre reality of each scene with tacit winks that they are in on it.
Mark Ridenour’s Arthur projects mirthful haughtiness and steaming frustration as he pursues his quests, supported by Brian Fisher’s loveable Patsy, Arthur’s put-upon servant. James Ilsley’s Sir Galahad is deliriously narcissistic, his duet with Nicole C. Julien’s saucy Lady of the Lake, satirizing generic Broadway numbers, a production highlight.
As Sir Lancelot, Brian Westbrook makes a sidesplitting transformation into a light knight after falling under Parker Perry’s spell as dudette-in-distress, Herbert. The other actors, down to the last ditzy monk and dirty peasant, acquit themselves admirably, particularly in Nancy Rich’s amusing choreography.
Vicki Olson outdoes herself with a continuing parade of humorous, splashy costumes, backed by Shannon Clark’s tongue-in-cheek castle and forest settings.
Bryan Phoebus and Michael Santangelo’s musical direction buoys the show merrily along.
Some of the jokes go on past their effectiveness and the second act script loses some focus, but none of that will matter to Monty Python and sketch comedy fans.
What: “Monty Python’s Spamalot”
Where: Raleigh Little Theatre, 301 Pogue St.
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19; 3 p.m. Sept. 6, 13 and 20
Tickets: $18.74 to $25.29
Info: 919-821-3111 or raleighlittletheatre.org