Spamalot Review The Reagent Theatre Hanley

As most people round here may have worked out by now, I’m a Monty Python fan of the highest order. It’s a sort of obsession with me, everything Python ever did as a team, I’ve got, and its well used to. So admittedly, this was not the first time I had pitched up somewhere to cop a eyeful of this utter silliness. I had a few years ago hot footed it down to London to see it at the Palace on Shaftesbury Avenue.

It was a strange feeling in the bar before the show as the normal folks sat around enjoying a pre-show tipple only for a few die hard Pythonists to start a little “ËœNi’ ing session to warn them of the loonasy that was to come.

The fact is Spamalot is Python watered down a bit. Its still got the fan base of general idiots- myself included in this grouping. But it has to bring in and entertain Joe Public as well. This it must have done, as Spamalot as played to packed theatres the world over for coming onto five years now. Although based on the teams second film “ËœThe Holy Grail’, Spamalot contains flashes of other Python work. The Fish Slapping Dance is here, there is some very silly walking going on, Parrots and Lumber Jacks are talked of.

Of course, the loonies anthem “ËœAlways Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ from “ËœThe Life Of Brian’ has to be crowbared in a few times. “ËœKnights of the Round Table’ and ‘Brave Sir Robin’ are there from “ËœHoly Grail’ as well as original stuff like ‘He’s Not Dead Yet’ and “ËœThe Song That Goes Like This’.

So I hear you cry, who’s in the ruddy thing, well I’ll tell you, Marcus Brigstocke (Argumental, QI, Late Edition, 11 O’clock Show) takes time off stand up and anything funny put out by Radio 4 to play King Arthur. His comic timing is second to non. Hayley Tamaddon (Emmerdale, Where The Heart Is, The Royal. All manner of them Celebrity things, and she won Soapstar Superchef and Dancing on Ice, so Im told.) plays the part of the Lady of the Lake, and she’s got a fine set of vocal cords, and a mighty fine set of legs on her. Todd Carty ( Grange Hill, Eastenders, The Bill, and he didn’t win Dancing on Ice, but what I saw of it, should have done) was indeed born to play Patsy.

Other parts are played by up and coming theatre stars Robin Armstrong (Sir Bedevere), Samuel Holmes (Sir Robin), Simon Lipkin (Sir Dennis Galahad/ The Black Knight), David Langham (Prince Herbert/ The Historian). But above and beyond all this, we must pay homage to Graham MacDuff. This man, in the true tradition of Python plays no less the 4 important parts, Lancelot, The French Taunter, The 10foot Knight of Ni and Tim The Enchanted.

Its all pretty well there, no ducking stools, no ducks even, no witch burnings, dame the Health and Safety jobsworths. There is no Black Beast of Ehhhhhhhhhhhh nether. But there is a Killer Rabbit, a Flying Cow and lots of body parts being cut off.

Eric Idle again exploits his Pythoness to its fullest extent by popping up as God, and every one joins in on the reprise of “ËœAlways Look On The Bright Side Of Life’, even then that at the beginning of the evening were confused by random yells of “ËœNi’ coming from a small section of the upper bar area. Its testament to Monty Python that this song, first sang by Idle whilst stuck to a cross at the end of ‘Life of Brian’ as indeed entered into the minds of so many as a anthem of the British.

It was a good night all round, all this, free orange juice and Red Wine to help yourself to in the press area and a free tin of Spam waiting for me with my ticket.

Spamalot’s a hoot, and it runs until Saturday 7th at the Regent in Hanley at 2.30pm(Wed and Sat) and 8pm. Evening show and Saturday afternoon 2.30pm show tickets range from £17.50 to £32.50. Wednesday afternoon sees tickets at £13.50 to £26.50. Saturday evening its £19.50 to £34.50. You can get them at the box office, by ringing O844 871 7649 or go to www.ambassadortickets/stoke. Just look out for the booking fees.