Gig Harbor’s Paradise Theatre opened the Northwest’s premiere of “Monty Python's Spamalot” on Friday as a way to end its regular season with a hearty helping of British humor all dressed up in outrageous accents. The gig includes flying stuffed cows, killer rabbits, taunting Frenchmen, mothers who bear a striking resemblance to hamsters and father who apparently smell like Elderberries.
All this and more left the audience with aching sides from laughter.
Winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical and nominated for 13 other awards, “Spamalot” pulls from the 1975 comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” in its musical retelling of the adventures of the King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. All the great scenes are there, including “the Knights Who Say Ni,” “Knights of the Round Table” and “Brave Sir Robin,” and a shout out to “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” with the addition of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
Anyone who is a fan of the movie will know what is in store during the stage production. Those unwashed heathens unfamiliar with the celluloid gem will be surprised.
The book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by Idle, with help from John Du Prez, take the best of the movie’s humor and wrap it into a stage show that plans like a movie on a stage.
The costumes and dance numbers were period and tight in a show where timing is everything. There are no big laugh moments, just a machine gun of vaudevillian one liners and deadpan deliveries that only work with practice and British accents.
Anchoring the show are King Arthur (played by Jonathan Bill and his “horse” Patsy (Gary Fetterplace) as they venture around their Middle Age realm to find knights worthy of the quest to find the vessel from the Last Supper between Jesus and his followers. Along their route, they find the famed Lady of the Lake turned spritely diva (Alicia Ross) and the likes of Not Dead Fred (Jake Atwood) and Sir Robin (John Mobus).
Solid acting was done by all, however, the translation from film to stage could have used a bit more energy and antics. The movie played well in theaters because it included so many oddball close-ups and subtle line deliveries that simply can’t shuttle to a stage version without some impact loss. But it was well worth the trip across the bridge, nonetheless.
“Spamalot” runs at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays through July 7. The theater will host a special dinner show at 6 p.m. July 6 as well. Paradise Theatre is located at 9911 Burnham Dr. N.W. in Gig Harbor. Tickets are: $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $10 for students and are available at www.paradisetheatre.org.