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Forestburgh Playhouse

From the Holy Grail comes “Spamalot”!

In Review

Bill Malone
Posted 7/7/23

“Bring out your dead!” bellows the medieval corpse collector as he pulls his body laden wooden cart. A weary villager drags a victim of the grim reaper out to the cart only to have its …

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Forestburgh Playhouse

From the Holy Grail comes “Spamalot”!

In Review


“Bring out your dead!” bellows the medieval corpse collector as he pulls his body laden wooden cart. A weary villager drags a victim of the grim reaper out to the cart only to have its head jerk up and exclaim, “I’m not dead yet!”

And so the nonsensical antics commence in true Monty Python fashion in the Forestburgh Playhouse’s “Spamalot”. I think most people don’t realize that Spamalot on Broadway won the 2005 Tony for Best Musical. That production was adapted from the film “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” which came out 30 years earlier. I can remember elementary school friends raving about this Flying Circus TV show. It wasn’t until the early 70’s movies that I became a fan.

The plot is loosely based on the exploits of King Arthur and his quest for knights and then the Holy Grail. Arthur and his sidekick Patsy travel the kingdom by horseback (yes, imaginary horseback to the clip-clopping of Patsy’s coconuts). They make their way to castles to recruit knights. There we learn about Arthur’s crowning as King by the mysteriously beautiful Lady of the Lake. With his handful of oddball knights, he ventures into the Dark and Very Expensive Forest where they will encounter everything ridiculous ranging from horned knights who say “Nee!” to insulting, taunting Frenchmen to a scary, giant beast called Tim. I have to veer off here a second and mention that the meeting between Arthur and Tim seemed like a sketch out of the Carol Burnett Show where Harvey Korman and Tim Conway just couldn’t hold it together. There are countless other interactions between the weirdest and funniest of characters who, many times, break the fourth wall to hilarious outcomes.

This is a giant cast with a number of the actors playing multiple roles. All of them are amazing! Danny Hayward as Lancelot and a few others, Jacob Ben-Shmuel as Sir Robin and a few others, Jeremy Alden as Prince Herbert and a few others and Matthew Richards Jr. as Dennis’ Mother and others bounce in and out of their various characters so often that I really have no idea how they kept track. Reese Britts as the narcissistic Sir Galahad and Noah Lytle as the loveable and under appreciated Patsy are fabulous. And the ensemble of Campy Rodriguez, Tobias Rytting, Marcel Joshua Johnson, MK McDonald, Carlita Vinciguerra, Nadia Stiell, Molly Munn, Sydney Green, and Michael DiLeo create a non-stop, energetic troupe who become the driving force of the show!

But the dual backbone of the production is Edward Staudenmayer as King Arthur and Victoria Mesa as the Lady of the Lake. Mr. Staudenmayer is Arthur in bold voice, sturdy in stature and regally haughty, deadpan and riotous in his comedic pursuits. Ms. Mesa is likewise a glorious lead with a radiant stage presence that only heightens her hysterically acrobatic vocal cords that bolt about from tender serenade to belting pop singer to lounge lizard crooning. Obviously, none of this happens without a stellar Director. How in the world did Dana Iannuzzi stage this show? I have no idea, but she pulls it off to Fourth of July fireworks!

I loved Scenic Designer Gisela Estrada’s castle sets and moving bridge. Costume Designer John Beltre’s exquisite outfits were so rich in detail, so varied; knights, horned forest beasts, decapitated arms and legs, and exotic lake ladies. My hat goes off to Musical Director David Fraley who doesn’t have a traditional musical to work with. Not this show. How he arranges these bits and pieces of music, sing, stop, sing again, and then full blown song and dance numbers is a miracle. 

“Spamalot” is not just a lot of silliness. Well, it actually is, but along the way through this cleverly written and sometimes biting satire, there are tons of side-splitting cleverly written musical lyrics that are performed to wonderful ensemble dance routines. Songs like “I’m Not Dead Yet”, “Knights of the Round Table”, “You Won’t Succeed in Show Biz” and the show’s anthem “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” are extremely entertaining. They are always upbeat and always a lot of fun! This show is an irreverent and not always politically correct romp through medieval times that will have you smiling, then chuckling and then out and out belly laughing.

“Spamalot” will run through July 16. Tickets and info are available through the box office at (845)-794-1194 or online at fbplayhouse.org.


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