Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Directed by Alex Krus and Jason Morgan
Music Direction – Lauren Morgan
Choreography– Shelley Ohmes and Becca Brown
Costume Design – Lauren Morgan
Set Design – Alex Krus and Jason Morgan
Lighting Design – Zane Allen Whitney, Jr.
Stage Manager – Kristy Vonshley Scroggins and Timothy Betts
Michael Rudd –King Arthur
Tom Dewester – Robin, Guard 1, Brother Maynard
John Tyler Shults – Sir Lancelot, The Knight of Ni
Preston Lee Isham – Sir Galahad, The Black Knight
Terry Yates – Sir Bedevere, Dennis Galahad’s Mother, Concorde
Lee Littlefield – Patsy, Guard 2
Christian Schmoker – Historian, Not Dead Fred, French Guard, Prince Herbert
Zane Allen Whitney, Jr. – The French Taunter, Prince Herbert’s Father, Tim The
Enchanter Craig Jerpi – Ensemble
Kalen S. Lewis – Ensemble
Chris D’ Auria – Ensemble
Araceli Radillo Bowling – Laker Girl
Vela Kate – Laker Girl
Emily Newcomb – Laker Girl
Shelley Ohmes – Laker Girl
Caroline Rivera – The Lady Of The Lake
Reviewed Performance 10/12/2013
Reviewed by Amber Gipson, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Spamalot was inspired by a successful 1975 British comedy film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, written by Eric Idle. The musical Spamalot leaves out certain parts of the movie due to the inability to execute certain effects on stage. However, fans come to the Fort Worth Community Arts Center’s Sanders Theater to experience Stolen Shakespeare Guild’s production and the same humorous antics that make this story a classic comedy.
This enchanting and hilarious story chronicles the misadventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table in medieval England. Directors Alex Krus and Jason Morgan breathe a fresh and fun air into this classic story making it relevant for a modern day audience. An intelligent script filled with witty banter between the knights coupled with lively song and dance routines make for an entertaining, laugh out loud experience.
In the audience were many fans who burst into laughter at the sound of the disoriented trumpets sounding even before the opening scene. The play is full of iconic scenes, the most famous being when instead of riding in on a noble steed, the great King Arthur gallops around stage with his noble companion clicking empty coconut shells. The songs are also a huge part of the attraction as well, often shattering the fourth wall and referring to the show itself.
Although the set design isn’t built with a huge Broadway budget, it’s realistic and textured enough to suspend your disbelief. The best set piece is a cleverly used castle with big doors for actor entrances and exits, as well as knights popping up from the top to yell out witty remarks and make fart noises. The lighting design is general with a few strategic spotlights to highlight dramatic moments, such as when King Arthur hears the voice of God. Modern lighting choice are the colorful disco lights during the song and dance number “His Name is Lancelot” when Sir Lancelot realizes he fancies men.
Costuming in the musical consists mainly of men in knights’gear or peasants in ragged clothing. On the other hand, the women in the show have flashy costumes. The Laker Girls wear a variety of ostentatious, matching corseted outfits, adding a flirtatious element to the show. Most of the actors are cast for more than one part so the costume changes are an effective and important part of separating each character.
The musical numbers create a lighthearted mood and celebratory atmosphere. There are many songs, sung to recorded background music, with positive messages such as “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and “Find your Grail”. My personal favorite is “Laker Girls” which involves cheering and hip hop dances like The Robot. Shelly Ohmes and Becca Brown choreograph dances full of energy that appeal to a present day audience. The dances also incorporate comedic moves like the opening “Fisch Schlapping Song” where the actors pretend to slap each other in the face with rubber fish.
The actors are all triple threats, belting out songs, dancing and playing multiple, adorably quirky characters. King Arthur is played affably by Michael Rudd and the strapping Sir Lancelot is played by John Tyler Shults. Actor Christian Schmoker does a great job transitioning between four hilariously ironic kinds of characters. From a historian who sets the scene in the beginning of the show to Fred, a man who is contesting that he isn’t dead, to a stately French Guard slapping his butt at King Arthur, and then Prince Herbert the son of a King who’d rather sing, Schmoker plays each hilariously. Tom Dewester creates lots of laughs playing Robin, Guard 1, and Sir Maynard. Preston Isham not only does a fantastic job displaying his dance moves but also confidently plays Sir Galahad who later becomes The Black Knight, and Lee Littlefield as Patsy provides a funny sidekick performance as King Arthur's "horse". Rounding the principals is Caroline Rivera who provides stellar vocals as the Lady of the Lake.
There is also a strong supporting cast who keep the energy high and create laugh out loud moments throughout the show.
Spamalot is a riot, full of delightfully wacky performances and musical numbers that linger in your head long after the final bow and applause. Stolen Shakespeare Guild brings this iconic story to life with as much glee and jocularity that a cult fan or first time viewer will love.
Stolen Shakespeare Guild
Fort Worth Community Arts Center
1300 Gendy St.
Fort Worth, TX 75061
Runs through October 27th
Friday-Saturday at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 2:00 pm, and Sunday, October 27th at 2:00 pm
Tickets are $19.00, $18.00 for seniors, $17.00 for students and $15.00 for all matinees.
For information on the play and theatre and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.stolenshakespeareguild.orgor/ the box office at 1-866-811-4111.