Spamalot at Derby Theatre

Highly recommend this hilarious production currently on st Derby Theatre. We went along last night and laughed our socks off!

Spamalot – National Tour – Derby Theatre – April 17th 2018

I have seen this show many times and loved it from the first time I saw it many years ago, at the Palace Theatre in London; this production from Sellador is definitely fresh and new. The staging and script have been tweaked with some new routines and up to date references, adding even more fun and laughter for the audience. All the performances tonight were excellent, showing professionals at the top of their game, doing justice to a great piece of musical comedy.

At the start the smallish cast and rather simple set might have suggested that this was to be a cut down version of the show, but this soon proved to be far from the case.

For those who haven’t seen this crazy show, it tells the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they search for the Holy Grail, in a very silly, but extremely creative and entertaining way. It mocks musicals, has a bizarre story, includes fish dancers from Finland, horse riders with no visible horses, the Knights who Say ‘Ni!’, an ever-defiant Black Knight, a killer rabbit, a male heroine in a tower and much more. It has an entertaining script, well crafted songs and energetic dance routines.

All the great Eric Idle and John Du Prez songs are there, including Always Look On The Bright Side of Life, The Song That Goes Like This, The Knights of the Round Table and a cleverly rewritten version of ‘You Won’t Succeed In Showbiz’.

There were fine performances tonight from Bob Harms as King Arthur, Rhys Owen as his loyal servant Patsy, and Sarah Harlington as the Lady of The Lake, all who provide strong vocal performances, as well as very effective comic timing. They were brilliantly supported by the Knights played by Norton James as Sir Galahad, Johnathan Tweedie as Sir Lancelot, Marc Akinfolarin as Sir Bedevere, Stephen Arden as Sir Robin (Resident Director as well) plus Matthew Pennington as Prince Herbert, Shane McDaid as Head Minstrel/ Dance Captain.

The very hard-working ensemble was polished and performed with energy and enthusiasm: many of them also have small cameo roles. They are Shane McDaid, Grace Eccle, Gleanne Purcell Brown, Joel Benedict and Ryan Limb; their dancing is excellent. The choreography is impressive: choreographer Ashley Nottingham has done a brilliant job at both set piece dances and knockabout routines.

The versatile and appropriate set by Sara Perks adds to the comedy and is enhanced by clever lighting by David W Kidd; the sound by Chris Bogg is crystal clear, I could hear every word. The musical standard is high: the 4 piece band directed by Dean McDermott produces a sound which is much more powerful than you might expect. Both the set and the richly varied costumes are changed very quickly and efficiently.

The show’s director, Daniel Buckroyd, has produced a fast moving, slick show which is very funny with great music and an up to date and fresh feel. I can recommend it to all lovers of good musical comedy – whether you are a Monty Python fan or not – it’s a feel good, laugh out loud extravaganza which is not to be missed.

The show continues at Derby Theatre until Saturday.