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Review: Monty Python’s musical adaptation, ‘Spamalot,’ delivers an evening of comical relief

Abby+Holland%2C+member+of+the+ensemble%2C+is+hoisted+up+by+Jon+Moorhead%2C+as+Dennis+Galahad%2C+during+the+dress+rehearsal+for+%22Spamalot%22+in+the+Moorpark+College+Performing+Arts+Center+on+Wednesday%2C+March+6.+The+ensemble+cast+will+perform+alongside+both+sets+of+casts.+Photo+credit%3A+Evan+Reinhardt
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Review: Monty Python’s musical adaptation, ‘Spamalot,’ delivers an evening of comical relief

Abby Holland, member of the ensemble, is hoisted up by Jon Moorhead, as Dennis Galahad, during the dress rehearsal for

Abby Holland, member of the ensemble, is hoisted up by Jon Moorhead, as Dennis Galahad, during the dress rehearsal for "Spamalot" in the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 6. The ensemble cast will perform alongside both sets of casts. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Abby Holland, member of the ensemble, is hoisted up by Jon Moorhead, as Dennis Galahad, during the dress rehearsal for "Spamalot" in the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 6. The ensemble cast will perform alongside both sets of casts. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Abby Holland, member of the ensemble, is hoisted up by Jon Moorhead, as Dennis Galahad, during the dress rehearsal for "Spamalot" in the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 6. The ensemble cast will perform alongside both sets of casts. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Natalie Hyman

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The musical “Monty Python’s Spamalot” by Eric Idle and directed by John Loprieno is an effervescent spoof-of-a-spoof comedy show based onMonty Python and the Holy Grail”. This musical is meant to liven up an old 1975 movie and bring a new, modern element to it, all the while poking fun at itself and the audience. While the main plot points stay true to the movie, it branches off into a world of its own.

Set in 932 AD England, it follows King Arthur, played by Brandon Lawrence of Cast A and “Pi π” of Cast B, and his knights and stead. This includes Patsy, played by Taylor Bass and Tony Cellucci, who unselfishly aids King Arthur in his quest to find knights and seek out the Holy Grail

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Tony Cellucci, as Patsy, gestures on stage next to Pi, as King Arthur, during their dress rehearsal for "Spamalot" in the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 6. Spamalot premieres in the PAC on Thursday, March 7 for the blue cast, and Friday, March 8 for the red cast. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Along the way, they stumble across the Lady of the Lake—the woman who bestowed Excalibur onto Arthur—, a radical political opposer, and even God himself. He and his knights traverse all over England on a quest to find the Holy Grail, encountering all sorts of situations on the way. Lancelot stumbles into situations he never expected— just like in the movie.

Although the plot seems like a typical Arthurian legend, this musical is far from anything typical.

In Camelot, for example, they run into the Lady of the Lake, played by both Michelle Harris and Evelyn Rose on alternating nights dress up like Cher and do a number Las Vegas-style in an Excalibur-themed resort.

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Evelyn Rose, as the Lady of the Lake, concludes her musical number during the dress rehearsal of "Spamalot" in the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 6. Rose will be performing in the red cast, which premieres on Friday, March 8. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Lancelot, played by William Burgos and Keir Kloss, comes to rescue Prince Herbert, played by Ian Bowers, trapped in a tower, who has an unbridled passion for singing that is smothered by his stern father— an allusion to his repressed homosexuality. Lancelot and Herbert then proceed to do a disco-style number as a celebration for their getting together: “His Name is Lancelot”.

From there, King Arthur and his men go on to be taunted by Frenchmen, attacked by a rabbit, and get up to many other shenanigans.

The infamous black knight scene is the highlight of the show—they use a clever optical illusion to make it appear as if his limbs are cut off, just like in the movie. Though there were some costume slip-ups, where the knights “arms” were not completely cut off, this made for some engaging character improvisation, adding to the overall humor of the show.

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Stefan Biscaldi prepares for dress rehearsal in his part as Dennis’s Mother in Monty Python’s Spamalot at Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 6. Photo credit: Jakob Marcus

This musical is not for the humorless; it is a comedic production that does not take itself too seriously. The actors do a good job of bringing light-hearted energy to the stage during every scene.

Numbers such as “The Song That Goes Like This,” sung by the Lady of the Lake and Dennis exemplifies the effect this musical has on the audience. It highlights the impressive vocal range of both actors but accomplishes the overriding goal of breaking the fourth wall and making fun of itself in an overt way.

The musical numbers are where the cast really shines, and all of the crew’s behind-the-scenes work comes into play. These actors have fine-tuned their performances to the point where it feels effortless while they are on stage.

However, this could not have been done without people working behind the scenes, such as Brian Koehler, scenic designer, and Beth Megill, choreographer. Scenes change often in this play, and because of Koehler’s skill and direction for those who assist him, the transitions between scenes feel seamless. Without MeGill, the musical would lack a fundamental element and bring the energy level down.

The orchestra also does a wonderful job at keeping up with the fast pace of the musical and adds so much emotion to musical numbers. The actors shine on their own, but the show would not be the same without our impressive Orchestra and Musical Director, Marilyn Anderson.

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Musical Director Marilyn Anderson conducts the orchestra in the pit during dress rehearsal for Moorpark's production of "Spamalot" in the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, March 6. The show premieres on Thursday, March 7 in the PAC. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The final scene is one to remember, where everything wraps up into the revelation that the grail was inside them all along. However, a surprise at the end, where an additional Holy Grail is revealed, is sure to leave the audience amused.

Overall, our theater department does this musical justice due to the sheer amount of hard work and collaboration that had to take place in all aspects of production. The crew polishes “Spamalot” up nicely and the actors bring it to a new level, which leaves the audience with satisfaction.

“Spamalot” runs at the MC Performing Arts Center every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday starting March 7 to 23 at 8 p.m. Matinee performances are every Sunday from March 10 to 24 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students, seniors, and children. Purchase tickets through the Performing Arts website to save 20% off your ticket.

For any questions, call the Box Office at 805-378-1485 or email at [email protected]

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About the Writer
Natalie Hyman, Staff writer
Natalie Hyman is an English student at Moorpark College. She has a passion for telling stories through her writing and hopes she can contribute her best to the team this semester. She enjoys writing about the entertainment industry, such as film and the arts.
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