Monty Python musical spectacular best entertainment this year
When: Friday 14 August 2015
Where: Riverlea Theatre, Hamilton
Works by: Eric Idle, John du Preez, and Monty Python (Haha)
Director: John Drummond
The Monty Python musical spectacular has been performed by a number of secondary schools in the last five years. It's a great school jobbie, but this grown up version wouldn't get close to the doors of a school hall, much less onto its stage. I think.
The Musikmakers company has come up with one of the funniest nights out you will ever have.
The story is loosely, very, very, loosely, that of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table at Camelot, and even that has been seriously interfered with by a group of performers, some who may, on occasion, pass you as you shop your trollied way in the supermarket, but who are transformed on stage to superb takers of the mick.
The Monty Python television shows use wonderfully, grotesquely, creative images to play its games.
To transform those into a musical play requires an expert combination of set design, props, sound and lighting. John Drummond, as well as directing, led that techno team in an explosively effective combination.
Top musical direction from Coryn Knapper set up chorus and soloists with terrific balance and clarity of diction which allowed the words to be even funnier than they are in ordinary speech – and she conducted the live band as if she were having more fun than anyone else.
That same cast was spectacular in the set pieces designed and choreographed by Leona Robinson as she worked them through hilarities like the Fisch Slapping Dance and Here Is Lancelot.
Thing is, the company clearly knew and enjoyed their Python. Sometimes they were uniquely individual. Jonathan Lane's iconic hair tossing Sir Galahad and Bob Blackwell's beautifully timed and ironically understated Patsy, were superb comic foils to the mind boggling voice of Alice Gower's Guinevere at its (intentionally) histrionic best.
At times they were offering scurrilously wonderful takes on religion – the chanting, head knocking, monks were memorable, Peter Skoludek's biblically inclined instructions for the arming and throwing of The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is a treasure. At times acting was the target, but the line, 'We'll overact like hell', was a reminder of the need actors have to play it straight, even when they are overacting, and they did.
The Trojan Horse became a rabbit, the Plague scene a chance to relive(sic) treasured moments, and Nathan Smith's Sir Lancelot coming out and consequent wedding to Scott Chaplow's Prince Herbert a comedic gem. This was the best Friday night's entertainment on this year's calendar.