VALDOSTA – And now, for something completely different.
Peach State Summer Theatre’s “Spamalot” is everything one should expect from something associated with Monty Python – silly, irreverent, brash, bold, politically incorrect and funny. Very, very funny, for those who know to expect – as the old “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” used to proclaim – “something completely different.”
“Spamalot” is the musical written and composed by Monty Python alum Eric Idle, based on the British comedy troupe’s movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” with its satirical take on King Arthur’s legendary Grail quest as well as poking fun at numerous modern social mores and theatrical conventions.
The musical includes the famed bits from the movie as well as several new gags. The Peach State Summer Theatre makes the most of everything that Monty Python provides.
If the “mistaken” Finland song, the “Fisch Schlapping Song” and the argument about whether a swallow can carry a coconut haven’t already let audiences in on what to expect from this show, the hilarious “I Am Not Dead Yet” number in the Plague Village captures the spirit of what’s to come.
The familiar bits and the new ones keep coming non-stop through the rest of the show: Ian Anderson as Arthur and his knights riding pretend horses while Cedar Jacob Moore as Patsy clip clops two coconut shells together.
Anderson’s Arthur serves as the inane anchor of the show throughout “Spamalot.”
Jenna Najjar as the vampish Lady of the Lake and her Laker Girls dancers.
Najjar and Johnny Flannagan as Dennis Galahad singing “The Song That Goes Like This” poking fun at love duets in musicals.
The Vegas-style Camelot where what happens in Camelot stays in Camelot.
Najjar’s Lady of the Lake as a medieval Vegas-style singer and dancer.
Eric Idle’s recorded voice as God.
Stephen Chambers as the foul-mouthed French Taunter taunting Arthur and his knights along with the French Army that includes a mime and two members of the French Foreign Legion.
The giant, tree-like Knights Who Say “Ni” then later as the Knights Who Say “Ekke Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing” setting Arthur and crew on side quests for shrubbery then a Broadway show.
The “Fiddler on the Roof” bottle dance bit during the number “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway.”
Anderson and Moore leading the Round Table in a rousing singing of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” the best-known song in the musical.
Daniel Grest as the anything but “Brave Sir Robin.”
Anderson’s Arthur and Flannagan again this time as the Black Knight with his “only a flesh wound” bit.
Najjar’s Lady of the Lake and her “Diva’s Lament” that she hasn’t appeared again until almost halfway through the second act.
Ben Cole’s “damsel in distress” Prince Herbert and the discovery of the secret of Chambers’ Lancelot.
Anderson and Moore’s great bit of “I’m All Alone” followed by Anderson and Najjar reprising the duet of “The Song That Goes Like This.”
Big dance numbers choreographed by PSST!’s Sarah Wildes Arnett. Great visuals designed by Jason Lee Courson. Christian Specht’s enlightening light design. Zach Cramer’s sound design. Christina Johnson’s costume design. The rhythmic pacing and comic timing of David Springfield’s live orchestra.
Hank Rion directs a fun show that mines the spirit of Monty Python for everything available, breaking the fourth wall, allowing the sight gags to be larger than life, pushing the actors to find their inner silliness.
Audiences unfamiliar with Monty Python may be uncertain of what to make of “Spamalot” though it serves as a wonderful introduction to Python’s madcap world.
For longtime Monty Python fans living in South Georgia or nearby, “Spamalot” is a dream come true – live and in person – like finding the prize on a grail quest of satirical humor.
Peach State Summer Theatre’s “Spamalot” continues 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 1, 3 p.m. Sunday, July 2, then through rotating repertory with “The SpongeBob Musical” and “Mahalia: A Gospel Musical” through July 22, Sawyer Theatre, Valdosta State University Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood. More information: Visit www.valdosta.edu/psst. The Valdosta Daily Times is the Peach State Summer Theatre corporate sponsor.
This review is based on the Thursday, June 29, performance.