The pantomime season is upon us, and Panto is exactly what the Alexandra Theatre offers this Christmas.
Flimsy plot? Check. From a rehashed story? Yup. Unsuspecting audience member dragged on stage? For sure. And a hearty sing-a-long to send the punters home happy? But of course.
Though this isn’t Jack In The Beanstalk. It’s Monty Python’s Spamalot, a stage musical based on the movie, Monty Python And The Holy Grail, the comedy group’s parody of the Arthurian legend.
Many scenes and jokes from the original remain, though some gags have been added to ensure the show is as topical as possible.
There are even a couple of cracks at Ann Widdecombe’s expense. Like all good pantos, the local town gets a few mentions, too.
However, this is a show for grown-ups, so also expect decapitations and a controversial appearance from God. (Played by local boy, Eric Idle, projected on a video screen. Well, he is the author of the show, so if anybody is going to grab the chance of being the All Mighty, it should be him.)
Most of the songs were written for the production, though Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life is nabbed from another Monty Python movie, The Life Of Brian.
Taken out of its original context, it loses much of its comedy value, and is presumably only included because it’s the Python’s most famous jingle.
However, the other songs provide plenty of laughs, as do an enthusiastic cast with impeccable comic timing. Matthew Kelly (pictured) is a jolly King Arthur (jolly stupid, too.) Jodie Prenger, as The Lady of The Lake, belts out her numbers with aplomb, and Todd Carty, as the humble peasant, Patsy, knows what to do with the two halves of a coconut shell.
(Pretend it’s a clip-clopping horse.)
Fans of Monty Python will love this Medieval madcap musical, and it should gain a few converts as well.
Spamalot you’ll like-a-lot.
Rating * * * *
Until January 1