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Theater Review: Liking Spamalot a lot

Always look on the bright side of life

Satisfying nonsensical: Patsy (Coleman Hagerman) and King Arthur (Steve Tarry) steal the show at Lakewood Plahouse. Photo credit: Kate Paterno-Lick

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Lakewood Playhouse never seems to disappoint and their most recent production is no exception. People who don't like Monty Python humor, also known as fuddy duddies, might want to skip it but for everyone else, Spamalot (books and lyrics by Eric Idle) will have them laughing, whistling and singing even after the show. Director John Munn's brilliant cast and crew could not have done a better job on opening night of the closing show of their 75th season.

Spamalot is the musical stage adaptation of Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail, which is arguably the most brilliant Monty Python movie created. The audience laughed in anticipation of the best bits and then laughed louder when they happened. Almost all of the favorite scenes in the Holy Grail are included except, sadly, the witch scene. The additional songs that were written (other than "Bright Side of Life" and "Brave Sir Robin") are great and the duet between Galahad and the Lady of the Lake have some of the funniest lyrics of any comedic musical.

>>> Lady of the Lake (Gretchen Boyt) sings to King Arthur (Steve Tarry). Photo credit: Kate Paterno-Lick

One of Lakewood Playhouse's best traits is their consistently amazing casting choices. All the actors are to be commended - and Brittany Griffins, Jill Heinecke, Xander Layden, and Timothy Mcfarlan were notable - but there were three who stood out even more. Steve Tarry's King Arthur was not only perfect but was the perfect straight man to Gretchen Boyt's Lady of the Lake and Coleman Hagerman's Patsy. Boyt was, hands down, the absolute best singer in the show. Her variety of singing styles, and generally perfect overacting, had the audience snickering and guffawing. But Hagerman? Hagerman was a perfect Patsy. Hagerman demonstrated his comedic timing in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Revised) but as Patsy, he took it to a whole other level. He doesn't just have great timing, he is impeccable with his gestures and expressions - specifically the innocent/dumbfounded/confused expression. Patsy and Arthur's duet was a crowd favorite with everyone singing and whistling along to (one of) Monty Python's most famous songs, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

>>> Patsy, King Arthur's horse and servant, is underappreciated but always longing for Arthur's approval. Ah, Patsy. Photo credit: Kate Paterno-Lick

The technical aspects of the play - lighting, set, props and costumes - were all fantastic. The creative handling of amputations and "tech support" was incredibly funny and clever. Munn clearly reveres Monty Python and puts all his attention and energy into creating a production that other Python fans will love. Spamalot is a perfect end to a stellar season. Opening weekend was almost entirely sold out (and deservedly so) and tickets were said to be going quickly for upcoming performances.

Congrats to Munn and company for delighting yet again. 

SPAMALOT, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through July 20, special performance July 4, Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd. SW, Lakewood, $18-$24, "Pay What You Can" June 12, 19 and 26 (Actor's Benefit), 253.588.0042

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