Review: ‘Monthy Phython’s Spamalot’ at Marin Shakespeare Company (****1/2)

by Charles Kruger

Susan Zelinsky (Lady of the Lake) with Jarion Monroe (King Arthur) in Marin Shakespeare Company’s  hilarious production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.” Photo Credit: Jay Yamada
This reviewer is a voting member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SF

Nobody in their right mind expects a stage adaptation of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” to make much sense, or achieve Shakespearean depths of meaning and emotion, but anybody who plunks down the cost of a ticket has a right to expect to laugh a lot at Lancelot and the rest of the knights of the Round Table as reinvented by a riot of comedians (or, if you prefer, a pratfall of clowns).

Don’t worry, you’ll get more than your money’s worth of giggles and outright guffaws at the Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, should you choose to attend.

Robert Currier, who obviously adores this material, has done a fine job of shepherding these goofy knights and ladies past the potential pitfalls of failed comedy to assure plenty of fun. If one joke fails, there’ll be a dozen more to raise your spirits!

Success at this sort of thing is by no means guaranteed. No doubt, this is funny stuff, but without expert execution, it can fall flat. But this company knows what they are about.

You could search the Bay area from Santa Rosa to San Jose without unearthing an actor with a more distinguished resume than Jarion Monroe, and he has an absolute ball as King Arthur. His steady, deadpan, heartfelt delivery is the perfect foil to the shenanigans unfolding about him. Watch carefully, and you’ll realize that this is a subtle comic turn by a seasoned pro who knows exactly how and when to let his hair down. Susan Zelinsky matches him laugh for laugh as “The Lady of the Lake,” and sings impressively.

But it is the ensemble that brings it home. They are a riot. Perhaps Joseph Patrick O’Malley takes the cake for comic capers because he is excellent in multiple roles that are completely different from one another. But then, one can’t fail to mention Michael P. Mcdonald’s charm as Sir Dennis Galahad nor his wildly funny turn as The Black Knight who won’t give up the fight.

This production features a huge cast of comic professionals enjoying themselves no end, and nobody outshines the rest.

Go.  Have fun!

“Monty Pythyon’s Spamalot” continues at Marin Shakespeare Company through August 25th, 2019. For further information, click here.


Rating: ****1/2 (For an explanation of TheatreStorm’s rating scale, click here.)


“Monty Python’s Spamalot” by Eric Idle and John Du Prez. Produced by Marin Shakespeare Company. Director: Robert Currier. Musical Direction: Paul Smith. Choreography: Rick Wallace. Costume Designer: Michael Berg. Fight Director: Richard Pallaziol. Lighting Designer: April George. Producer: Lesley Schisgall Currier. Properties and Set Decor: Joel Eis. Set Designer: Jackson Currier. Sound Designer/Composer: Clint Bajakian. 

Cast:

Historian/Not Dead Fred/Prince Herbert: Joseph Patrick O’Malley. King Arthur: Jarion Monroe. Patsy: Bryan Munar. Sir Robin/Brother Maynard: Philip Percy Williams. Sir Lancelot/Tim The Enchanter: Ariel Zuckerman. Sir Dennis Galahad/The Black Knight/Prince Herbert’s FAther: Michael P. McDonald. Sir Not Appearing/Dennis’ Mother/Concord: Patrick Russell. The Lady of the Lake: Susan Zelinsky. Chorus/Ensemble: Susan Zelinsky, Michael P. McDonald,  Seanna Nicol, Joseph Patrick O’Malley, Leah Parris, Chelsey Ristaino, Patrick Russell, Phillip Percy Williams, Ariel Zuckerman, and MArin Shakespeare Company Interns.

 

 

 

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