Wednesday, 11 March 2015

REVIEW: Spamalot at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

A show packed full of gags but not realising its potential.

Lovingly written by Python’s very own Eric Idle, it is impossible for any Life of Brian or Holy Grail fan not to enjoy this production. It is familiar and rewarding to fans of their comedy, without excluding those not aware of Monty Python’s work. And at less than two hours, the show zips by with little chance to draw breath.

The supporting cast work tirelessly in a variety of roles to bring this silly, irreverent story to life with Richard Kent as Prince Herbert and Richard Meek appearing as Sir Dennis Galahad (amongst other roles) particularly shining. The strength of this production was the pace and energy amongst the cast members, used to great effect to aid their storytelling.

Todd Carty was likeable as dim-witted Patsy, and though while not particularly challenged or stretched, has proved himself to be a capable live theatre actor. Jamie Tyler and Josh Wilmott also deserve a mention as they fully embraced the Python humour without just re-treading the path previous performers had trod.

Sarah Earnshaw as The Lady of the Lake was the stand out actor in this production, in a role which was the perfect showcase for her strong singing voice and comic timing. Her song The Diva’s Lament was an act two highlight and she lit up the stage whenever she graced it.

It was disappointing therefore her leading man didn’t help her shine even brighter. Joe Pasquale as King Arthur delivered a typical middle of the road crowd pleaser performance. He seemed to wander too far off script which detracted attention from a well written, tight piece of work. Rather than adding to the production, he was a distraction and the part needed a performer with a stronger vocal and bigger stage presence. Too many times the ad-libs felt forced, staged and made the pace of the production slow which was a real shame.

This updated production with refreshed songs such as You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz has enough strong gags, silliness and playful songs to keep the audience and fans happy but its “star” performer on auto-pilot meant this production was just average rather than fit for a King.

Review by Andy Edmeads 


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