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Spamalot UK Tour - Birmingham Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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New Tour of Hilarious Monty Python Comedy Musical
As in true Monty Python style, King Arthur in Spamalot is not a stately royal seeking the holy grail, he's a very naughty boy.

He prances around on an imaginery horse while his manservant claps coconut shells together behind him. Meanwhile, his kingdom features nuns and monks ballroom dancing saucily, peasants who sing about being 'not dead yet' and a knight who is so frightened of fighting that he wets his pants everytime there's a threat. Welcome to history, according to the world of Monty Python.

Spamalot, UK Tour
Joe Pasquale stars as a very silly King Arthur in Spamalot in the UK tour


Reprising roles they played in the West End version of Spamalot are Joe Pasquale and former EastEnders actor Todd Carty, embarking on the quest for the Holy Grail as King Arthur and his faithful manservant Patsy respectively.

For avid fans, it's offering something slightly different in this new production with new jokes, new costumes and new sets. I saw the musical during its stopoff at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre, where it was staying from February 2 until Saturday February 7 before moving on to cities including Oxford, Liverpool, Glasgow and Sunderland.

It's a vibrant, fun, silly piece of theatre that leaves you feeling brighter, like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders - but that could be due to the uplifting finale of singing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

Spamalot2
Always look on the bright side of life in Spamalot


Pantomime in style and set, the first section recreates the storyline and well-loved scenes from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

We see King Arthur enlist his Knights of the Round Table through ridiculous scenes with beautiful show girls, flying cows, killer rabbits and very rude French people.

After the interval, it steers off in a different direction, combining some scenes from the film with additions like Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from film The Life Of Brian and up-to-date jokes on celebrities like Mary Berry, Cheryl Cole and Prince Andrew. It's refreshing to see that there must be constant rewrites to keep the show fresh, and there was also a welcome section relating to Birmingham that

Thrown into these are slick dance routines from our motley crew (who have a striking resemblance to the Monty Python comedians in their youth) and songs that take the mickey out of traditional musicals, none more so than the romantic number The Song That Goes Like This.

It's the Lady of the Lake who steals the show song-wise in Act Two however with her Diva's Lament - a song about how her role isn't appearing on stage as much as in Act One.

Spamalot3
Todd Carty reprises his West End role for the UK tour of Spamalot


Comedian Joe Pasquale is a fitting king and brings an air of panto to the proceedings, while Todd Carty is wonderfully dour. There are times when you are not quite sure if the cast appear to be holding back giggles as part of their roles or because they really are ad libbing and making each other laugh. Whichever it is, it creates a fun atmosphere.

There's also a welcome spot from Eric Idle, who is behind the book for Spamalot and partly responsible for a new score with this new production along with John Du Prez, as he appeared in the Birmingham show after being voted to play God.

Spamalot4
Scenes from the comedy show Spamalot


Speaking on the new production, Eric Idle said: " 'Spamalot is fun. The new production is funnier, it's more like a Python show. There are new costumes and new sets and new director Christopher Luscombe, so it's just got a whole different spirit to it."

Whatever the changes though, it still has the spirit of Monty Python - the silly, laugh out loud sense of fun that you won't want to miss.

Rating: 8/10

Running time: 2 hrs

Spamalot

Tickets cost 10.50 - 42.50 and are available on 0844 871 3011 or through the ATG ticket website. There is also more information on the Spamalot UK Tour website.

UK tour dates:

2 February 2015 - 7 February, 2015
Venue: New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

9 February 2015 14 February 2015
Venue: New Theatre Oxford

16 February 2015 21 February 2015
Venue: Grand Opera House, York

2 March 2015 7 March 2015
Venue: New Theatre Cardiff

9 March 2015 14 March 2015
Venue: New Victoria Theatre, Woking

16 March 2015 21 March 2015
Venue: Edinburgh Playhouse

30 March 2015 4 April 2015
Venue: Theatre Royal, Brighton

6 April 2015 10 April 2015
Venue: The Mayflower, Southampton

13 April 2015 18 April 2015
Venue: Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

20 April 2015 25 April 2015
Venue: Churchill Theatre, Bromley

27 April 2015 2 May 2015
Venue: Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea

11 May 2015 16 May 2015
Venue: Liverpool Empire Theatre

18 May 2015 23 May 2015
Venue: Sunderland Empire

1 June 2015 6 June 2015
Venue: King's Theatre, Glasgow

8 June 2015 13 June 2015
Venue: New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon, London

15 June 2015 20 June 2015
Venue: Milton Keynes Theatre

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Why? Monty Python fun in a musical
When: Touring until June 2015
Phone: 0844 871 3011
Where: UK Tour - Birmingham, Liverpool, London and more
Cost: From 10.50
Your Comment
I think it's good that they keep it fresh by updating the jokes to fit with this day.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11366) 924 days ago
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