KANSAS CITY, Mo —
“And now for something completely different.”
Those words, famously intoned by the celebrated British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus, were used on their TV show to bridge the gap between comedy sketches.
For Python fans, “Spamalot” is something completely familiar. And that’s a good thing.
“Spamalot” is the musical theatre adaptation of the classic 1975 movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Like its predecessor, it’s unabashedly silly, gleefully irreverent and stubbornly anarchic.
And the production currently running at Starlight Theatre is unapologetically fun.
Adapted by Python alum Eric Idle with music by Idle and John Du Prez, “Spamalot” tells the tale of King Arthur (Tom Hewitt), the Knights of the Round Table, and their circuitous quest for the elusive golden cup.
The story remains somewhat faithful to the movie’s meandering plot, but the changes Idle has made allow him to take a satiric jab at the very medium he’s using: The Broadway Musical.
With songs like, “The Song That Goes Like This” and “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway,” he lampoons the inherent absurdity of big-time stage extravaganzas.
Plus, Idle takes advantage of ample opportunities to make fun of gays, Jews and Christians. But the parody is so good-natured that few people seem to mind.
Hewitt leads a rock solid ensemble in this touring production that’s been slickly directed by Marc Robin. Two cast members who are natives of the KC area make quite an impression in major roles.
Janine Divita, who was raised in Overland Park, plays The Lady of the Lake, the show’s female lead. She shows off her powerful vocal chops in the second act when her character, feeling neglected by the playwright, belts out the anthem, “The Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part).”
Brian Sears, a fellow OP native, is very funny as King Arthur’s faithful aide, Patsy. Like a Sancho to Arthur’s Quixote, the comically loyal and perpetually ignored Patsy lives up to his regrettable name.
Parents should be warned that there are some ‘naughty’ words bandied about in this impudent show, so it’s probably best reserved for older kids.
While the chaotic nature of Python’s humor may become wearing to some, those who allow themselves to tune in to the flippant material will have a merry old time.
“Spamalot” runs through June 6th at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo. Information is available by calling 816-363.STAR (7827) or by visiting www.kcstarlight.com.
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