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Monty Python’s Spamalot review at Theatre Royal Brighton

Based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is a curious hybrid of Arthurian legend and adult pantomime. It’s bright, bold and colourful, performed with gusto and tongue-in-cheek humour by a strong cast.

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke plays King Arthur, looking for knights to join his quest for the Holy Grail. His sidekick, Patsy, played by a Baldrick-like Todd Carty, comes straight out of Aristophanes, a mocking, much put upon foil to his square-jawed master.

Jodie Prenger, winner of BBC talent show I’d Do Anything, plays the Lady of the Lake as a Shirley Basseyesque diva whose character is constantly trying to steal the limelight. She belts out the showstoppers with admirable lung capacity.

The show’s scatological humour, slightly over-egged campness and caricatures of the French will not be to everyone’s tastes. But suspend your PC impulse, and it becomes a good-spirited, jovial affair, English to its core, with some classic set pieces.

These include the hilarious scene in which a knight continues to square up in a swordfight even though his limbs are being lopped off, and plague corpses protesting they still aren’t dead yet. Brigstocke can hardly stop corpsing at points, and that’s infectious.

The plot loses its way a bit and some more of Python’s wit would have been welcome. But the choreography is proficient, the set, vivid and the laughs plentiful. This show has a high feel-good factor and is the perfect antidote to winter austerity.

Production Information

Theatre Royal Brighton, December 15-January 14

Authors
Eric Idle and John Du Prez after Monty Python
Director
Christopher Luscombe
Producers
Howard Panter, Robert G Bartner, Normal Tulchin
Cast includes
Marcus Brigstocke, Jodie Prenger, Todd Carty, Robin Armstrong, Rob Delaney, Adam Ellis, Graham MacDuff
Running time
2hrs 15mins

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