Chicago Theatre Review
Spamalot is Ham-a-Lot. A Successful Fete’
By Lazlo Collins
In this black box version of a big box office musical, this comedy is put to the test in NightBlue’s “Spamalot”.
The scaled down version of “Spamalot” has a big heart, and some great theatrical innovations. The execution of cast members taking on two or three roles is great. The musical numbers fill the small stage at 773 with frenetic dancing. The actors seem to be having a great time throughout the show. It crosses over to the audience in so many ways. Using every inch of the space provided, this show has an intimacy of a comedy club.
“Spamalot” is basically the musical version of the Monty Python’s movie – Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur must find the knights, and find the Holy Grail. In the meantime, they encounter those that are almost dead, Lady of the Lake, Knights who say “Ni”, and the French. And through it all, Python’s singing and dancing characters are encountered. In the end, it’s a happily ever after finale. And you will never guess who finally finds the grail. It’s a surprise every night.
This was truly and ensemble effort from start to “Finnish”. The cast blended well and covered all the character bases.
Indeed, there were some particular standouts throughout the evening’s royal proceedings. Greg Foster as “Patsy/French Taunter” was magnificent as “Patsy”. He is the perfect companion for King Arthur. With his great facials and great timing, he breezes around the show easily. Mr. Foster’s “French Taunter” was articulate and very funny. He did quite well in his cramped quarters.
Katie Miller is on the money with her “Lady of the Lake”. She brings the ham served red hot. She seemed comfortable on stage and was a leader in keeping the energy alive and fresh. Her voice was lovely and strong. He lounge singer persona was especially spot on.
The role of Prince Herbert is a prime for a hit or miss interpretation. You can either approach it timidly or go too far over the top. Ryan Naimy’s portrayal of this man/princess is superb. He made me laugh. His facial expressions are perfect. He works that dress like a pro and wins the audience over completely.
“Lance” is played both spacy and confused by the adorable Andew Sickel. He embraces his more flamboyant side with ease. We never really know if he really follows Prince Herbert, or he is just confused.
Ryan Stajimiger puts in a great performance as the “Historian” and Not-Dead-Fred”.
The other members of the cast put in great performances as well. In the end this show is a huge group effort. You can tell this cast has a great rapport; helping and guiding each other to the end of this cast’s quest.
There is a LOT going on in this show. This ensemble holds it together to bring the audience to a laughing success.
The small but mighty orchestra delivers just the right amount of punch.
The set design by Max Maxin fills the stage and the scene adaptations are clever. It was a great use of such a small space.
This version of “Spamalot” is entertaining and does the trick. The cast is plucky and enthusiastic. It is fun.
To get tickets simply go to www.stage773.com
For more information on this and other shows please visit theatre in Chicago at www.theatreinchicago.com