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Sidesplitting 'Spamalot' coming to TBTS

Theatre Review

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This is my third time around for Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and I still found myself laughing out loud at the outrageous, side-splitting, nonstop hilarity.

Bill Hanney’s Theatre-by-the-Sea director, Billy Sprague Jr., and the entire cast and crew got it right, milking every line with their perfect comic timing, singing, dancing and all-round silliness, spoofing everything in sight, from the British to Broadway musicals.

Checking your playbill before the curtain rises, you see a program about a Finnish play, only to see a group of Finns singing a song about sheep. A narrator appears saying, “I said England, not Finland.”

That doesn’t sound funny when you read it, but if you were there it was hilarious. As was the rest of the fast-paced, skit-like show about King Arthur and his quest for the Holy Grail.

Al Bundonis plays it straight as Arthur, a king that nobody respects, or has even heard of, setting up a plethora of jokes about the monarchy and political system.

Sir Lancelot (Jonathan Gregg) and Sir Galahad (Michael Andrako) are not as we remember them in history or even fiction. They each have their own particular characteristics, and they will charm you and delight you.

Haley Swindel is a fabulous Lady of the Lake. Her showstopper comes in the second act, when she has been off stage for a while and shows up singing “The Diva’s Lament.”

Our own Tom Gleadow joins the cast of New York actors playing three roles, including Galahad’s mother. Gleadow is a most talented, versatile actor who always seems to land plum parts where he steals the show.

I don’t want to spoil the spontaneity the show provides, but you have to see the visit to the French castle, the sword fight with hilarious special effects and the Killer Rabbit. Nothing is sacred, including Broadway, Jews, gays, Finns, Englishmen and people in general.

The voice of God is provided by a former mayor/talk show host/mayoral candidate whose name escapes me. He was there press night and amazingly got thunderous applause when introduced.

There are some catchy song and dance routines, including “I Am Not Dead Yet,” “Knight of the Round Table” and the classic “Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

If you haven’t seen the 2005 Tony Winner for Best Musical, don’t miss this opportunity. This is one of the few musicals I look forward to seeing over and over again.

“Spamalot” is at Theatre-by-the-Sea through Sept. 7 Tickets range from $42-$62. Call 782-8587 for reservations.

Theatre-By-the-Sea extends their summer season for one week, with an encore engagement of Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show, Sept. 12-14. This one is also worth seeing again.

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