The Wokingham Paper

REVIEW: Spamalot. Let’s go there. ‘Tis a silly place

Spamalot
EBOS presented their take on Monty Python's Spamalot Picture: Alex Harvey-Brown

EBOS presents Spamalot
South Hill Park
May 15-19

The Wilde Theatre was packed with lovers of all things silly on Friday night for the penultimate performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Opening with the Fisch Schlapping song, this joyful celebration of nonsense set the scene for an evening of bad puns, dodgy accents but some spectacular singing and dancing together with some deftly delivered dialogue.

Spamalot follows the story of King Arthur and his trusty servant Patsy as he seeks to recruit knights and find the Holy Grail.

Spurred on by the Lady of the Lake the gallant band have many ridiculous obstacles of overcome in order to fulfil their quest.

Fans of the Holy Grail film eagerly anticipated such scenes as the European/African swallow debate – effectively performed from either side of the balcony, the French knights’ taunting scene complete with giant rabbit and flying cow, the fearless Black Knight (’tis but a flesh wound) and the knights that say ‘ni’, and they weren’t disappointed.

Scenery, costumes and staging were used to great effect to bring out the violence inherent in the system, sorry, the humour inherent in the dialogue.

The action was further enhanced by the addition of such uplifting songs as ‘he is not yet dead’ and ‘the song that goes like this’ which brilliantly parodies the power ballads and love songs found in many musicals.

As EBOS supporters have come to expect, the choice of principals and standard of singing and acting were exceptional.

King Arthur (Adrian McDougall) had just the right balance of arrogance and gormlessness, Patsy (Andy Camichel) displayed the most amazing variety of facial expressions and Prince Herbert (Damian Thomas) gave a pathetic portrayal of a male damsel in distress.

However, the character that stole the show had to be The Lady of the Lake (Emily Burton).
First appearing apparently floating in mid-air, she completely owned the stage in all her scenes, over-acting to perfection and wowing the audience with her vocal range and quality.

Not many musicals could get away with a song entitled Whatever Happened To My Part?, where the Diva laments that she hasn’t appeared on stage for several scenes.

She had the audience in the palm of her hand.

Deserving of special mention are the talented troupe of six dancers who appeared in a very large number of scenes, portraying a vast array of characters.

Demonstrating their abilities in ballet, tap and other dance styles, they perfectly complimented the surrounding action.

Together with a well-balanced 10-piece band, all in all another fantastic achievement from this well-renowned society.

EBOS next show will be Guys and Dolls. It runs from July 17-21, again at South Hill Park. Booking is now open. For more details, log on to www.ebos.org.uk

JUDITH CREIGHTON

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