MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT (National Tour)
Book and Lyrics by Eric Idle, Music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle
Dallas Summer Musicals
Direction by Mike Nichols
Direction Recreated by BT McNicholl
Original Scenic & Costume Designs by Tim Hatley
Scenic Design Modifications by James Kronzer
Lighting Design by Mike Baldassari
Sound Design by Craig Cassidy
Projection Design by Elaine McCarthy
Casting by Mark Minnick
Supervising Musical Direction by James Cunningham
Musical Supervision by Steven M. Bishop
Company Manager Jose Solivan
Production Stage Manager- Suzanne Apicella
Choreography Recreated by Scott Taylor
Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
CONDUCTOR/PIANO- Kevin Casey
ASSOCIATE CONDUCTOR/KEYBOARD II- Nolan Bonvouloir
TRUMPET 1- Andrew Hoesl
TRUMPET 2- Emma Stanley
TROMBONE- Alex Jeun
FRENCH HORN- Ami Fields
Historian, French Guard/Ministrel, Brother Maynard: Thomas DeMarcus
Mayor, Dennis' Mother, Sir Bedevere, etc.: Matt Ban
Patsy, Guard 2: Glenn Giron
King Arthur: Steve McCoy
Sir Robin, Guard 1: Martin Glyer
Sir Lancelot, The French Taunter, Knight Of Ni, etc: Adam Grabau
Not Dead Fred, Nun, Prince Herbert: John Garry
Sir Dennis Galahad, Concorde: Jacob L. Smith
The Lady Of The Lake: Caroline Bowman
Sir Not Appearing, Monk: Shaun Patrick Moe
God: Eric I
Reviewed Performance 6/14/2011
Reviewed by Sten-Erik Armitage, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Monty Python. Arguably the most powerful name in absurdist comedy in the 1970's, the troop entertained audiences in a way that has never been equaled, even up to this current day. So when Eric Idle took on the challenge of creating a musical that was "lovingly" ripped off from the motion picture "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," fans were concerned. Would this musical be able to maintain the keen subtlety and social commentary of the series and the movies?
In a word - no. But does that really matter? What Eric Idle crafted was fan service par excellence. Often the audience would burst into applause at the mere sight of a beloved character such as the Black Knight (Matt Ban) or Prince Herbert (John Garry). Spamalot was nothing more than a chain of gags that very loosely followed the plot of the film while at the same time poked fun at the musical theatre industry. Indeed, the best parts of the show were the bits that had nothing to do with the film. The satirical "The Song That Goes Like This" performed by Sir Galahad (Jacob L. Smith) and the Lady of the Lake (Caroline Bowman) was one of two highlights of the evening. In what was obviously a parody of essentially every ballad written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Caroline Bowman showed off not only her amazing vocal skills but also an impeccable sense of comedic timing. Another high point of the performance was during an interlude where Caroline Bowman came out wearing her dressing gown and bemoaned her extended period of time offstage in Act 2 by singing "The Diva's Lament." Bowman's performance throughout the evening stole the show. She was simply brilliant.
On the downside was the opening number of Act 2. What should have been one of the best numbers of the evening somehow fell flat. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" performed by Patsy (Glenn Giron), King Arthur (Steve McCoy), and the Knights of Ni lacked energy and failed to captivate me. This was surprising as it was one of the more elaborately choreographed numbers of the evening. It was all the more surprising as Glenn Giron was one of the better performers throughout the evening.
Another show stealing moment came from Sir Robin (Martin Glyer) during the number "You Won't Succeed on Broadway". This brilliantly done routine poked fun at the Great White Way while parodying the classic "Fiddler on the Roof." Glyer was another performer who was a pleasure to watch throughout the evening.
The set and costume design was perfect. Both made maximum use of the stage at the Music Hall at Fair Park and made scene changes smooth and seamless. From the gorgeous gowns worn by the Lady of the Lake to the stained woolens of the peasantry, the costuming was beautifully done.
The lighting design struggled throughout the evening. The players were often illuminated in stark, harsh lighting, and the follow spots were jerky throughout. It felt as though another tech rehearsal was needed. I'm sure that those were details that would be ironed out over the next few performances.
Another frustration occurred during the ensemble driven numbers. I was uncertain if the problem came from the acoustics of the hall or from the ensemble itself but it was difficult to hear the lyrics to the ensemble numbers. was as though they were not striving to perform as one voice resulting in difficulty interpreting the lyrics. Some of the choreography was not executed as sharply as I'm sure the choreographer would have liked. It was easy to differentiate who in the ensemble had a background in dance and who simply learned the movements for this musical.
Speaking of dance, John Garry (Not Dead Fred, Nun, Prince Herbert) was a standout in every scene in which he appeared. Not only did he possess a wonderful sense of comedic timing, he was also an accomplished dancer.
Whether you are a Python fan or not, Spamalot is sure to have you laughing throughout the night. The jokes are clever and non-stop. The songs are witty and engaging. Caroline Bowman will blow you away with her vocal prowess. If you have never seen Spamalot don't waste another minute. It's much better than Camelot. After all, Camelot is a silly place.
Monty Python's Spamalot
Dallas Summer Musicals, Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Ave.
Running through June 26th
Performances are Tuesdays?Saturday evenings at 8pm and Thursday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 pm.
Tickets range from $18 - $75. Learn more by visiting www.dallassummermusicals.org or by calling (214) 421-5678