Cameos from Ozzy Osbourne and Susan Boyle boost Monty Python classic
PUBLISHED: 10:48 07 April 2011
» Tinkering with a British comedy institution was always going to have to be done with immense care, but attending the opening night of Monty Python's Spamalot at the Orchard, I was delighted to discover the writers and producers have managed the fete expertly.
Using the template of the farcical 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, merged with a score of suitably sing-a-long songs frequently mocking the musical genre, Spamalot sees King Arthur, (Phill Jupitus) collect a rag-tag team of knights to find the famous chalice.
In a series of loosely linked scenes lifted from the movie the brave troop encounter the fearless Black Knight, foul-mouthed Frenchmen, of course, the dreaded Knights who say Ni.
Sceptical Python aficionados will be quickly won over by the Spamalot cast’s clear love for the original script and will also be treated to a number of twists that will keep them guessing, while the retelling of the film means the uninitiated are not left feeling like they are missing half the jokes.
Jupitus, who works primarily as a stand-up or TV comedian, at first glance appears an odd choice for a musical lead but his straight-faced exasperation at the camp and ludicrous actions of both his enemies and allies plays perfectly.
The Lady of the Lake (Jessica Martin) exhibits a fantastic vocal range, while the surrounding cast joyously jump between a variety of roles with consummate ease.
Cameos from Ozzy Osbourne, Susan Boyle and God himself (played by original Python member and co-writer Eric Idle) drew big laughs while the odd ad-libbed speech and audience interaction serves to bring a relaxed and enjoyable mood to the whole performance.
A word of warning to unwitting parents — the script is taken from a 15 certificate film — but if you can suffer the odd swear word and innuendo, you are in for a treat.
Opening on Monday Spamalot will be at The Orchard, Dartford until Saturday. To book tickets call 01322 220 000.