Mercury Theatre, Colchester

I grew up with Monty Python.  In their day they were fresh, anarchic and downright weird. And yet, despite having once worked in an office where we competed to find obscure Life of Brian quotes, I had not seen Spamalot until last night.

The show is a parody not only of the Arthurian legend but of Python itself and of the musical genre.  King Arthur gathers a group of Knights together, off they go in search of this grail thingy and along the way meet dancing girls, scary things and the knights who say Ni.  They find love and the grail and all live happily ever and do so entirely in song.

What makes this show brilliant is the writing of Eric Idle.  It is his concept that director Daniel Buckroyd has to bring to life in this Mercury Theatre production.  Daniel does not disappoint. He has gathered a cast of actors who perfectly match the parts they have to play.

From the moment King Arthur (Bob Harms) enters stage right with his trusty manservant Patsy (Dale Superville) clomping on the coconuts, the stage is set for a show to remember.  Given our current political situation the discussion about workers’ rights and the monarchy was apt – indeed why not have Kevin (John Brannoch) negotiate our Brexit strategy.

There are cameo appearances by Harry Potter and Donald Trump no less. There are cheer leaders, minstrels, monks, nuns, knights (both straight and gay) and very dangerous rabbits – what’s not to like?  (How that nun didn’t end up in the orchestra pit is anyone’s guess!)

In a show with such a good cast it feels unfair to single out favourites, yet to mention all is merely a list.  For me, two performances will remain in my memory for a long time.  The first being Sarah Harlington (The Lady of The Lake) whose facial expressions had me in tears of laughter and whose awesome voice was a joy to listen to.  The second was Mercury regular Dale Superville (Patsy) who is a master of comic timing and the cheeky look – I even spotted him having a quick swig of an audience members drink as the cast made their way through the auditorium.

Do not think that this is some regional poor relation of a West End show.  Everything, including set, costume, and sound are spot on.  This is a first class production which deserves to play to full houses every night – you have until 13th May to catch this show.  If you know the story you will not be disappointed, if you don’t – treat yourself.

[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]This is a ‘Made in Colchester‘ production and plays at the Mercury Theatre until 13th May. To book tickets click here.[/box]

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