Monty Python’s “Spamalot” is a big show…. it incorporates much of the storyline of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail along with loads of songs written especially for the stage show. In essence for Monty Python fans it is classic Python and also a great introduction to Python for newbies too.
It was at the Ipswich Regent that I first saw Spamalot when the official UK tour came into town starring Phill Jupitus and Todd Carty a few years back. This week I returned to the Regent for the Woodbridge based Company of Four’s version.
Now I’m a big fan of local drama groups, but the problem with am-dram taking on large scale productions such as Spamalot is that they just never quite do it as good as the originals. Add to that I’m a massive Python fan and in my book I guess Company of Four didn’t stand a chance….
WOW!!!!! – How wrong was I…. This version of Spamalot had everything that the professional version did, in fact it equalled the original.
The story essentially is King Arthur (Simon Bowen) assisted by Patsy (Neville Woolnough) gathering up his Knights of the Round Table. Arthur also receives advice and a few admiring glances from The Lady of the Lake (Kerri-Ann Lees) and then goes off to search for the Holy Grail. Along the way they get into lots of other adventures too.
Arthur, Patsy and the Lady of the Lake are the leading players in Spamalot and every single actor is both perfectly cast and all turn-in excellent performances…. you really can’t fault any of them. But then add to that the Knights – of the Round Table variety, as well as the ones that go Ni, the remainder of the supporting cast and you end up with an am-dram company that really can rival any professional company.
My initial fear that the choice of Spamalot could be one step to far for Company of Four evaporated within the first five minutes of the show.
The most difficult thing about comedy is “timing” and this is something that the cast had got spot-on, probably due to the excellent Direction of Paul Leech, add to that the accompaniment of a wonderful orchestra and you have what I can honestly say is probably the best am-dram production I have seen to date!!!
Well done Company of Four the Pythons would be proud of you!
• Ipswich Regent, Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd October
Mark Keable (one very impressed Python fan), Ipswich24 Magazine
And now for something completely different, their next production is Dick Whittington and his cat in February 2017.