The Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne becomes Camelot for this totally madcap production, featuring a small but enthusiastic cast who all work tremendously hard throughout the production. In a rollercoaster performance, so many familiar scenes and characters come and go that it would be impossible to comment on them all.
Led by Bob Harms as King Arthur, who has terrific impact throughout with some fabulous dialogue and songs, and accompanied by his four knights of the realm, they navigate the tale perfectly and create a show that they obviously love dearly.
Sir Lancelot (Johnathan Tweedie), Sir Robin (Stephen Arden), Sir Galahad (Norton James) and Sir Bedevere (Ryan Limb), not forgetting Patsy, the King’s personal horse/confidante (Rhys Owen), all give truly wonderful character interpretations.
Sarah Harlington as the Lady of the Lake, the diva of the production, gives a tremendous performance. She sings well and makes the most of some very demanding songs. Matthew Pennington, as Prince Herbert, is an absolute hoot, with a performance that is so over-the-top that it almost defines the word “camp” all on its own.
The familiar scenes with the Killer Bunny, The Black Knight, The Flying Cow, the Knights who say Ni and “The French” are all faithfully recreated to offer up a production that greets you like an old friend would, as long as you are familiar with the works of Monty Python. Even Eric Idle makes an audio appearance as God.
Scene changes are frequent, and carried out quickly and quietly and, although some of the sets (and costumes) have seen better days, the overall effect is good and, if anything, being less than perfect is very Pythonesque! Music from the four piece band, together with some superb sound effects, fills the auditorium and creates a great atmosphere for the enthusiastic audience to enjoy.
Thirteen years after it first appeared on the Broadway stage, Spamalot is just as funny as it ever was, and appearances by Harry Potter and Donald Trump help to keep it fresh and relevent. As we go through a period of cold and wintry nights, head down to the Devonshire Park Theatre for a chance to spend a couple of hours looking on “the bright side of life”.
**** Four Stars