Review: Arts Center of Coastal Carolina's 'Spamalot' a riotous good time

nancy.wellard@cancer.orgMay 12, 2013 

"Spamalot" runs through May 26 at Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island. Cost: $56; $39 for ages 4-15. Details: 843-842-2787. www.artshhi.com

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Monty Python's "Spamalot" opened last weekend at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Hilton Head Island, and I must tell you, it is brilliant, witty, cheeky and slick. The sidesplitting musical totally lives up to everything you've ever heard, or have been promised. It is utterly silly -- but we counted on that.

The musical is directed by Casey Colgan, and choreographed by Nic Thompson. Together, with the musical direction of Jeffrey Biering, they take this Tony Award-winning show to new heights. How brilliantly they collaborate to bring this blazing treat to Hilton Head.

I've been replaying my favorite parts ever since I left the theater. I'd like to tell you, specifically, about the deliriously amusing jokes, puns, one-liners, double entendre and award-winning French Taunts, to say nothing of the episodes of the famous Killer Rabbit and the heroic Black Knight. But I'm afraid I must not, ahem. Instead let me say a few words about the Eric Idle storyline.

The script is a bit like "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" -- but a lighter, wink-wink version. There are, of course, lots of references to the historical significance and to the metaphor about searching for the Holy Grail, but, in the end, "Spamalot" is splendidly pointless, which is just the, um, point.

The cast -- all of whom play multiple roles -- are spot on. The knights and the ladies -- in all of their costumes and configurations -- are knock-out dancers, with kicks and taps and moves I've never seen before. There are eastern European "line" dancers, who move across the stage with a collection of Holy Grails balanced on their heads in a "Fiddler on the Roof" parody; a chorus line of knights and ladies wearing the most colorful and outrageous costumes; and minstrels, mimes, monks and military men, clearly a gathering of escapees from other musicals.

Among my favorites is Meredith Inglesby as the Lady of the Lake, who simply charms in all directions. She is gorgeous and sings beautifully and powerfully in "Come With Me" and "The Diva's Lament." She roars and growls and totally blows me away.

Bill Bateman's astounding Patsy was right on the mark. Just watching him move on stage was a gift. "I'm All Alone," with the handsome and kingly King Arthur (Steve Blanchard) and the knights, was show-stopping.

Ensemble work is top drawer, too, and look forward to "He is Not Dead Yet" with the Man (not yet dead), and the homicidally brave, blood thirsty (who has a secret) Lancelot (Xander Chauncey), and the handsome Robin, (Michael Di Liberto). "Find Your Grail" -- belted out by the cast, including the handsome Galahad, (Jeffrey Watkins) and Bedevere (Michael Cowher), who is troubled by lower G-I problems -- is wildly entertaining. "Always Look on the Bright Side Of Life" will remain in your spirit for days.

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