SPAMALOT – THE SUNDERLAND EMPIRE
By Andy Barker
If you are looking for something to raise your spirits and put a smile on your face then a serving of Spamalot is just what you need.
This laugh out loud comedy show is back on the road and is running at The Sunderland Empire every night until Saturday.
Spamalot is a madcap sing-a-long, based on the hit 1975 comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Full of set pieces from the movie it also tips a wink to some of the Monty Python TV series’ best moments as it follows King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail.
The plot irreverently and mercilessly takes a pot-shot at some of the most cheesiest moments from ‘big time’ West End and Broadway musicals along the way via a series of very silly songs written around some of the original movie’s crazy plot.
The Song That Goes Like This, a duet between Sir Galahad and Lady of the Lake, must surely make Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for that matter, cringe. While The Diva’s Lament, belted out by Bonnie Langford, sees the female lead complaining about her lack of stage time.
As big budget theatre moves ever more technical, it is quite refreshing to see a show that is unashamedly simple in its delivery which is it’s underlying attraction. Some of the Holy Grail’s most famous scenes like Arthur’s fight with the Black Knight, the Knights That Say Nee or the abusive French soldiers, work on stage because of their ‘low-budget’ delivery.
While a great deal of the ‘silly’ humour is not far off 40 years old, there is plenty of space for topicality with recently injected mentions of Simon Cowell, Susan Boyle (who meets a sticky end), Cheryl Cole and for this local audience even Nissan!
The compact and hard-working cast delivered a tight show with Todd Carty putting in what seemed like the longest stage time and TV veteran Bonnie Langford (a child star at just six!) powering through the tongue in cheek ballads. Silliness aside it is also a full-on energetic song and dance show with some great vocal performances.
The stage show Spamalot was written by Python veteran Eric Idle and his musical collaborator and soundtrack specialist John du Prez. With the addition of two Neil Innes tunes from the original film, the show became an instant hit on Broadway back in 2005. It has played to audiences worldwide ever since.
Find out why at The Sunderland Empire this week – it’s a meaty treat that’s guaranteed to delight.
Meanwhile read Andy Barker’s interview with Spamalot star Todd Carty in R&R Magazine at www.randrlife.co.uk
Spamalot runs at The Sunderland Empire all week until Saturday 21 (matinees 2.30pm on Wednesday 18 and Saturday 21).
For tickets or further information contact The Sunderland Empire on 0844 871 3022* or www.ATGTickets.com/Sunderland* *Booking fees apply.
Groups of 10+ can save £5 per ticket by calling 0844 871 3042.