You know you’re not in Camelot when King Arthur’s “steed” is a sound effect made by knocking coconut shells together.
In fact, the King (Bob Himlin) and his sidekick Patsy (Steven Grawrock) are in Monty Python country, “Spamalot” to be exact, and a wild and wacky evening is in store for all.
Premiere Productions presents “Monty Python’s Spamalot” through June 23 at the Welk Resorts Theatre.
Randall Hickman directs and plays several roles in this rollicking send-up of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. After Arthur has found his motley crew, God (seen as two enormous feet) sends them to find the Holy Grail (a golden chalice allegedly used at the Last Supper), and not delay: “Get to it, all right? These people don’t have all night.”
Arthur’s inspiration is the Lady of the Lake (Mitzi Michaels). Clad in slinky dresses and boasting a set of pipes as big as all outdoors, she frequently performs with her own version of the Laker Girls (complete with green pom-poms).
The knights bump into the utterly inhospitable French, so incensed by the “gift” of an enormous but empty wooden rabbit (think Trojan horse) that they send Arthur and Co. back to England. But of course, without a map they get lost in “a dark and extremely expensive forest.”
You get the idea. “Spamalot” goes on like that, offering other wonders like tap-dancing knights and a fight between Arthur and the mean Black Knight, who loses his arms (“It’s only a flesh wound!”), followed by a monk picking up “arms for the poor.”
The jokes are broad, corny or goofy; the costumes (by Hickman and his partner Douglas Davis, who also plays several roles in the show) outrageously giggle-inducing, the songs a total hoot.
Bravo to Premiere Productions for this professional production, sporting a clever set by Davis, terrific lighting by Jennifer Edwards and spotlights by Drake Ardon and Skylar Johnson.
Shirley Johnston’s choreography is as goofy – and funny – as the rest of “Spamalot’s” elements.
But “Spamalot” succeeds or fails with its cast, and I’m happy to report there isn’t a weak link here. Himlin’s Arthur and Michaels’ Lady of the Lake not only can sing, dance and act but also have chemistry.
Steven Grawrock is equally great as Patsy (Arthur’s Sancho Panza, the unsung sidekick) and in a few smaller roles as well.
Jeff Kopasz scores as the probably gay Sir Lancelot; Paul Morgavo is properly noble as Sir Galahad and silly as the Black Knight.
Jason Palmer and Robert Alegria are a hoot as knights Robin and Bedevere.
Bravo to Hickman and Davis for taking on this monumental task. It is telling that several other theaters have asked to rent their costumes. They should take the cast as well.
“Monty Python’s Spamalot” is a scream from beginning to end. But hurry – it closes on June 23.
"Monty Python's Spamalot" plays through June 23 at Welk Resorts Theatre, 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive, Escondido.
Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 1 and 8 pm; Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1 pm.
Tickets: (888) 802-7469 or HERE.
To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.