'Monty Python's Spamalot' is the Holy Grail of musical comedies

Special to the Sun HeraldJuly 17, 2014 

Monty Python fans will be in King Arthur's court tonight for Broadway South Repertory's production of "Monty Python's Spamalot."

They will enjoy the delightfully anachronistic retelling of the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

"Spamalot" is a musical parody of the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, but as cast member Seanie Wade Warren (Lady of Lake) said, "I don't think there's anything traditional about this show. It takes the King Arthur legend and spins it on its head."

"It is lovingly riffed. It's an incredibly hilarious show," said Producer Anthony Starcher (Sir Bedevere). "A lot of people watch the film over and over and it immediately takes you back to it."

Those familiar with the movie will remember familiar elements such as the French Taunters, the Black Knight, Tim the Enchanter and the Knights who say "ni."

Fans of the film will love it, but people who aren't as familiar with it will still be amazed by the production value.

"Part of what makes this show spectacular are the fantastic costumes, and the technical aspects are a standout," Warren said.

Theatergoers will experience large pieces of scenery that roll on and off stage, special effects such as lightning and thunder and a snow machine.

Unusual for most little theatres, the production will feature a full orchestra.

"There's a lot of music from the original movie. Songs such as 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' get stuck in your head," said Sandy Starcher, musical director.

"What people may not realize is that 'Spamalot' was the Tony Award winner for best musical, and it is as much a Broadway spectacle as it is homage to the film," said Assistant Director Cliff Thompson (Sir Galahad). "There are a lot of big dance numbers, show girls and tap dancing."

Spamalot's classic British dry wit humor, delivered in both Cockney and proper British accents, will translate to local audiences.

"Everybody loves a comedy," Starcher said. "There are many times in rehearsal when we're all laughing at each other when we're performing in character."

The production is full of "madcap physical comedy with silliness and zaniness" that is at the same time very tongue in cheek.

"The challenge in that is trying to stay away from overindulging and going too far into it," Thompson said. "You want to keep that deadpan delivery that Monty Python is so well known for."

Broadway South Repertory always aims for the best performances, and member say they believe "Spamalot" will fit the bill.

"I hope the audience will love it and have a great time," Warren said.

"You don't have to have seen the movie to be able to enjoy the show. You can enjoy it just for what it is."

"Monty Python's Spamalot" will show at the Saenger Theatre in Biloxi today, Saturday and Sunday.

Ticket are $25 and can be found at entertainmentcartel.net; or $25 cash at the door.

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