I was introduced to Monty Python in college. It wasn’t really the kind of humor my family would have found funny. But I did. Ridiculously so. I can quote a lot of lines and often, when the ridiculous pops up, find myself thinking them. So, I was excited to see Spamalot announced as part of CFRT’s season.
I had not seen the musical before, and wondered if it would truly get the spirit and creative genius of the Monty Python sketches. Knowing Tom Quaintaince, the artistic director of the CFRT, I should not have been worried. But the proof is in ... well the seeing of the thing.
I have what most would consider an average (to me superior) 14-year-old son. I thought he might appreciate the humor in the show. Minutes into the show, he was laughing uncontrollably, and I heard him singing the “Not Dead Yet” song in his room. So, I knew Quaintance and crew captured not only the hilarity of Monty Python but also the spirit.
The musical takes bits and pieces of classice Monty Python skits and weaves them together into a tongue-in-cheek poke at Broadway. Broadway loved it, and so did I. I think you will, too.
The show appears to have a really large cast. But it doesn’t. There are simply a few extremely talented folks who tackle a lot of roles and they do it brilliantly. From the ensemble to the main characters, the cast gets into the spirit of things delivering the subtle and sometimes ridiculous humor that is an earmark of Monty Python with perfec-tion precision. Throw in the singing and the dancing and you have a show that is well worth seeing — more than once!
Staying in the spirit of things, the Cape Fear Regional Theatre staff found a way to shamelessly promote their upcoming production of The Three Muskateers throughout the show. It was classic.
If it would not be weird, and people would not think I was a stalker, I would wear an “I Heart Ken Griggs” T-shirt. But somehow, I think it would be weird and people would think I was a stalker.
Griggs, a veteran of the CFRT, simply rules the stage thoughout the performance. Playing King Arthur, Griggs is hysterical. There are some actors you see who always act the same in every show they are in. There is the aging, but perky debutante, the world-weary matron, the sauve, but tired gentlemen, etc. No matter what show the actors are in, they play that same type — even if it isn’t what the character is supposed to be.. Griggs takes a type, blows it apart, reinvents it and makes it brand new every time. He breathes life into the character he is playing and makes it his own.
As King Arthur, he is a sensation. Of course, long-time CFRT patrons know that Griggs has a marvelous voice — even while singing the ridiculous.
Come to think of it, I might get that T-shirt after all!
Lisa Jolley, a newcomer to the CFRT stage, plays the Lady of the Lake. In a recent interview, Jolley noted that she never gets to be “the girl.” In the case of Spamalot, Jolley not only is the girl, she rocks it. Her range is incredible and the way she puts sarcasm into each note is well, unbelievable. I par-ticularly loved her rendition of “What Happened to My Part?”
Together, Jolley and Griggs have great chemistry. I would love to see more of them both on the stage.
Michael Thrash, as Patsy, King Arthur’s ever present sidekick, is a master of subtle comedy. His deadpan delivery of one-liners and his mastery of physical comedy are divine. And, his prowess at playing the coconut, well, it is not to be missed.
The Knights of the Round Table, com-prised of Jeremy Fiebig, Matt Lamb and Jacob Barton, skillfully add humor to the show and leave you in stitches as they break every stereotype anyone has ever had about the noble knights of long ago.
A shout out to the ensemble is in order. They moved the show forward quickly, and, quite honestly, had some of the funniest parts.
Spamalot was all I hoped it would be and more. If you want a good laugh and want to enjoy theatre at its finest, it’s a don’t miss.
The show runs through Oct. 18, so you have plenty of time to check it out. For tickets, visit the CFRT website at www.cfrt.org.