Whether you’re a longtime fan of Monty Python’s British humor and can recite every word of such classic bits as “The Lumberjack Song” or have no idea why anyone would be fond of sketches like “The Ministry of Silly Walks,” this weekend’s “Spamalot” at the Academy Theatre should provide entertainment for everyone.
The Academy Theatre’s final weekend of “Spamalot” is Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at 275 Chestnut St., Meadville. Tickets are $14.50 and $12.50 and are available at theacademytheatre.org or by calling 337-8000. Note that this show is rated PG-13 for crude humor.
A musical version of the 1975 movie “In Search of the Holy Grail,” “Spamalot” plays fast and loose with that revered English legend of King Arthur (played by Chris Seeley) and the Knights of the Round Table. Sparing no opportunity to skewer sacred cows, “Spamalot” brings the audience along on this quest for the Holy Grail (in a treatment very different from “The DaVinci Code”) and all the misadventures of this misfit band of pseudo-chivalrous royals.
After cavorting in Camelot and trotting off to the sound of clattering coconuts, this beknighted crew encounter fierce French folk, tree-tall ear-piercing warriors, a dark knight who doesn’t know when to quit, misguided minstrels, a Scottish wizard with a very scary name, a killer rabbit, and the challenge of putting on a Broadway musical without the assured assistance of Semitic participation.
Almost ruining this male madcap are the talents of a retinue of dancing girls and the vocals of the Lady of the Lake (Sue Wentz). Her songs in particular work to salvage the story by providing a dash of meaning — to wit, that everyone seek out their heart’s desire in order to bring purpose to life and that attaining those goals (grails) are worth all the effort ever exerted.
Chris Fettig is the play’s director. Larry Charlton plays the king’s patsy of a Patsy. A variety of local actors fills out the rest of the cast — knights Andrew Brink, Greg Brink, Mike Litzinger and Tim Solomon; dancers Sylvia Cagle, Ashley Cloud, Rachel Freenock, Terri Gilmore, KT Heenan and Tracie Jones; plus Greg Adsit, Tug Roae and Glenn Tuttle rounding out the cast in a variety of roles. Behind-the-scenes work is done by Kimber Benedict (choreographer), Irene Kipp (costuming) and Mike Marley (set) as well as dozens of others.