Monday, 28 July 2014 13:06

Spam's never been such fun

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Bongi Mthombeni as Patsy Bongi Mthombeni as Patsy Pictures by Mariola Biela

The allure of Monty Python has always been lost on me, much like The Goon Show. Until I saw the hilarious production of Spamalot at the Civic Theatre, that is.

Its terminal silliness had me laughing so hard in my seat that my ribs ached for days afterwards. Seasoned theatre contributor Fiona Ramsey, who was sitting in front of me, must have wondered about all the coughing and spluttering and hee-hee-hawing behind her.

Hamming it up has never been so much fun. Suddenly The Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life, The Flying Circus, The Holy Grail and Now for Something Completely Different was all encapusulated in one enchanted romp in a very expensive forest.

The highlight of the evening, after watching King Arthur and his silly band of sometimes-very-camp knights wander around looking for the Grail was the appearance of "Sir" Johnny Clegg who was representing Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show.

Johnny was greeted with wild cheers but  I myself always enjoy a foolish peasant or two, so the song "He is Not Dead Yet" sung by a pox infested yokel with Struwwel Peter hair (Not Dead Fred) and a couple of plague ridden corpses (simply billed as "peasants") who sat up and sung in their carts was my personal favourite.

Michelle Botha brought a touch of the diva to the Lady in the Lake and never failed to appear in a long sequined gown in true Hollywood style. Her powerful voice and obvious longing for the bones of King Arthur (Norman Anstey) made her a true leading lady.

Between the mud castle and plague villages lay Camelot, the court of one of the greatest kings of Britain.

So the rude French taunters who thumbed their noses and insulted the mothers of the English were not to be endured, but nevertheless they made me snort with laughter even more helplessly.

Then, of course, everyone broke out into broad Broadway with a Jewish twist.

"You Won't Succeed on Broadway" was so un-PC that it was probably enjoyed most by the Jewish members of the audience - of whom there were many, it seems.

Having always enjoyed medieval history as well as the tale of King Arthur this production went down a treat with me.

The spamalot booby prize went to ... oh yes indeed, a real life Brian.

Brian Heathfield is one of theatre's keenest fans, attending most first night premieres in the town, and it was under his seat that the winning ticket for the tin of spam was finally found.

Finding The Holy Grail has never been so much fun.

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