Home Arts & Lit Review: Spamalot @ Exeter Northcott

Review: Spamalot @ Exeter Northcott

"A silly, self-aware musical that is guaranteed to brighten your day with laughter": Chloe Kennedy reviews Monty Python's musical comedy.

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Ham and jam and Spam(alot): a grim combination but a lovingly revived musical, Spamalot brings you the classic gags from the loved Monty Python and the Holy Grail. From floppy fish to bible bashing and even nipple tassles (a fabulous new edition), this show has the perfect ingredients for a new belly-shaking experience.

The original film screamed for a musical which is made, with ease, through the (still-funny) use of coconuts instead of horses, allowing for a charming transition to the stage. The show is much needed fun, self-conscious in its presentation; ‘The Song That Goes Like This’ particularly satirises those that take themselves too seriously. It literally breaks the fourth wall (and makes sure to acknowledge that) with characters running through the audience and even a sing-a-long at the end of the show.

The gags are further brought to the bright side of life by placing them in recent culture, with references to Harry Potter and Donald Trump. My particular favourite was the reference to the old Vine gag ‘that’s going straight in my basket’, which occurs when the Black Knight’s arm is cut off, combining the iconic phrase, ‘it’s just a scratch’, with an amusing joke (which I probably chuckled too hard at).

The gags are further brought to the bright side of life by placing them in recent culture

It must be said, though, that the show fell off its non-existent horse a little with its depiction of women characters, with many dressed in very little and the knights gawking at them, especially in a Vegas-like scene. Despite this show satirising stereotypes, it is sometimes hard to see the line where is becomes too far. Overall, however, I think this is generally overcome by the show’s quick wit and awareness, including the subversive element of having a male join in with the female ensemble’s cheerleading scene.

The show is very well-thought out, made easier by the expectation and actually-funny-creation of a low-budget film easily delighting the stage. The Holy Grail (or grails) are placed in apparently plain sight while the costumes replicate the film. All the cast are brilliantly aware and shine in their roles. Not a note is (deliberately) out of key, ensuring songs are genuinely catchy whilst simutaneaously parodying; ‘You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz’ bringing out the classic Sally-Bowles chair finish.

Spamalot is a silly, self-aware musical that is guaranteed to brighten your day with laughter. You won’t be alone – as Arthur is not in ‘I’m All Alone’, when the whole cast is ironically on stage – in your ridiculous merriment. Go catch the tour, since you’re not yet dead (and it is silly fun).

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