Devonshire Park Theatre
Funnier than the Black Death & lovingly ripped off from the hugely successful 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this spammier than ever production is full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns and ferocious Frenchmen.
This is a gleefully silly and highly polished production of Spamalot from Selladoor Productions clip clops with the aid of some African Swallow imported coconut shells into the delightfully comfortable Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne this week.
It’s a perfectly scored homage to musicals in general with much ruthless deconstructing and adoring echoing and has maintained a very close following of the original theatrical production along with the films from Monty Python. Its draft, a little crude, wonderfully familiar, endlessly strange and done with a warm and engaging humour which drawn the audience in instantly with laughter and then leads them and the cast around its merry way. There’s plenty for the hard-core Python fan, one of whom I had with me and he was very pleased at all the references and wink winks, nudge nudges at their classic scenes.
Director Daniel Buckroyd keeps everything tight with just enough space for some fun mucking about by the cast, the set is panto level silly with some wonderfully knowing gags, the costumes are fun, the sequined nuns a real delight and the dancing is sharp and tight. The choreography from Ashely Nottingham was excellent and gave the show the huge jazz handed musical underpinning it needs to succeed as a song and dance show as well as a silly comedy show. A hard act to balance but one done with real style and panache by this talented cast.
The plot and narrative bounce around as much as the cast, its part Camelot, part Holy Grail, wholly daft but also with an almost coherent hero’s journey narrative which gives away quite how much Eric Idol loves musicals deep down. The cast shines one and all, Bob Harms King Arthur is the triumph of self-delusion and lurches from disaster to mishap with perfect timing, with Rhys Owen as his sidekick and perfect not-so-straight- man. Owen is lovely, funny, touching and sweet and milks the laughs. Sarah Harlington does starlet with a real brilliant shine as Lady of the Lake, her voice soaring, her comedy timing as sharp as her nails and with a glamour that every musical needs, she nailed it, time and time again.
The rest of the ensemble cast do excellently and there’s not a misstep apparent, singing and dancing their way with committed abandon. The staging is worth a mention too as it pulls off some fun effects, the entrance of the lady of the lake is handled very well and there’s plenty of silly goings on with the set as with the story.
It’s a charming production with a superbly talented cast done with energy and charm and presented in a warm and comfortable theatre with reasonable ticket prices and a very cheap bar, with free parking just outside, now what could be better than that!
You can get there and back, drink and have good seats for half the price of a Brighton night out. The Devonshire Park Theatre gives not just seriously good value for money but also a seriously entertain show with Spamalot and id’ recommend this silly, daft show. You’ll leave singing the tunes and feeling very jolly indeed even if your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.
Plays until Saturday, February 10
Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
For more info or to book tickets see their website here