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Review: Spamalot! at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (07/04/2015)

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Lovingly ripped off from the Monty Python’s is quite correct, as most of the funniest parts of Spamalot! are direct, or indirect, quotes from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

I can’t say I’m complaining though, as those parts of the musical were brilliant. The tension was palatable as the audience waited and waited until finally, in a heavy fake french accent, a guard uttered that infamous line: “your mother was an ‘amster, and your father smelled of elderberries!” Those Python lovers out there will have hopefully read that last in an ‘outrageous french accent.’

It was quite entertaining to see the cast laughing at jokes as well at points, leaving you secure in the fact that this humour was just perfectly childish, with a few adult jokes added in for the more mature of audiences. It also gives you the opportunity to keep laughing as much as you want, without wondering if you're going to miss something.

And that’s what we did – laughing out loud, or at least giggling a little, it seemed as though most of the audience were interacting well with the silliness; and who can refuse to sing along with ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life?’ Eric Idle’s pure genius and universally loved song taken from the Pythons’ Life of Brian?

However, there are a few points that stick with me as a bad memory, where the mark was missed by a long shot and it seemed as though, although still laughing, the audience was doing so more out of shock than anything else. It is true that this was written by Eric Idle, whose shock tactics have never ceased in his comedy, but when a character is prancing around in a leather thong singing about being gay it seems a little bit too far. When did we get to the point where this was once again needed?

King Arthur and Patty, played by Joe Pasquale and Todd Carty respectively, who were the main drawing factors for many, were of average quality (I did think that Patty had some truly brilliant moments, but all of the other actors seemed to steal the limelight). There’s a song in the musical which does make light of the fact that ‘You Always Need A Star’ to draw audiences in, and I did note that that was absolutely genius, as the rest of the cast were just so effortlessly funny and fantastic that it didn’t really seem fair to them (at points) that their names weren’t on the massive Spamalot! posters in equal billing.

If you’re looking for an original, new musical, you might want to go elsewhere, but if you want a belly-hurting laughter-inducing roaring time at the theatre and have even the most passing of respects for the talents of the Pythons, I would look no further. This pantomime (of sorts) was perfectly odd for enough of the time that there was much more to grin about than to frown about.

Spamalot! continues on its tour and tickets can be found here. 

Originally published on The Edge.

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