Audience divided by a show that's comedy marmite - review of Spamalot at Bristol Hippodrome
For Monty Python fans this show described as a musical lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail is another another step along the road to finding their own comic 'Holy Grail'. To the general public it is an off beat piece of theatre full of fun and music, which may or may not appeal to their sense of humour and taste in music. You can class it along with 'Marmite' and Anchovies' as something you either love or hate.
Those who love it also know most of the gags and quite a bit of the dialogue before they heard them repeated on stage, and this knowledge only served to heighten their pleasure when the words were actually spoken. Others like the lady I met in the interval were completely bemused by the response declaring that the whole thing, especially the distinctive styled humour, just went sailing over their heads.
It was a style that was fully captured by the company led by Marcus Brigstocke's wonderfully off beat urbane King Arthur, the effervescent Bonnie Langford as The Lady of the Lake sending herself and quite a few other well known singers up in a completely uninhibited manner, and Todd Carty as Patsy an ideal straight man who fully lived up to the characters name.
The other nine talented members of the cast created a string of fine comic 'Python' characters,eighteen in all, and with the backing of MD Tony Castro and the band filled the stage with big sounds that matched the cleverly staged ensemble routines.
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Eric Idle, who put in a guest appearance on video as 'God' also supplied the book, lyrics, and with John Du Prez the music, which included 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, a song so well known to the 'Python' fans in the audience they started the lyrics before the actors on stage. Non fans found this response, like that to the humour, completely mystifying. You rate the show either very high or poorly depending on which side of the divide you belong.