Last night, the SMUS production of Spamalot debuted on the McPherson stage. Based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail and written by cast member Eric Idle, Spamalot is an exciting departure for SMUS musicals. The original Broadway show debuted just 10 years ago and won a Tony for Best Musical. It offers much in the way of madcap humour, but is also an entertaining show in its own right, full of flashy chorus scenes and heart-pounding musical numbers.
Our leading knights did a great job adopting the spirit of Monty Python in their performances. Lawrence Berardelli plays Sir Lancelot with an obliviousness and casual callousness that suit his battle-loving character. As Sir Robin, Jacob Wilson-Potter has much fun playing the coward to great effect. Douglas Peerless is wonderfully funny as King Arthur’s loyal servant, particularly during the song “I’m All Alone.”
Jansen Gibbs plays leading man King Arthur with a certain amount of royal grace, mostly acting as a straight man in his circle of off-kilter compatriots. Danny Park brings vocal chops and charisma to Sir Galahad while Kai Newman pulls double-duty as both Sir Bedevere and the infamous Black Knight.
Our Lady of the Lake, Catriona Gordon-Poag, proves the standout vocalist in the show, lending her powerful pipes to a range of songs and music styles. She also dons some truly breath-taking costumes, with her flashy disco outfit coming straight from our campus shop costumer Jane Smith.
Adding to the visual shimmer of the production were the dancers/cheerleaders, who displayed some amazing moves on stage. Kudos to Alessandra Barquin Zuniga, Caro Garcia Villarreal, Jennifer Hawes, Jordan Kerr, Nutcha Panvichean, Tessa Pihl, Cecilia Shang and Josie Tamburri on their incredible dancing.
Our musicians gave life to a challenging musical score, working to hit every note while also not overpowering the action on stage. The stage crew were a well-oiled machine when it came to lights, curtains, scene changes and all the other duties inherent in a production of this size and scope.
Among the strong ensemble cast were some notable performances in parts large and small. As Herbert, a groom who is inadvertently rescued by Sir Lancelot, Antonio Junco does amazing voice acting and has a natural gift for humour. Tim Berntsen was very comical as Not Dead Fred and Lydia Kenzie had a spot-on cockney accent and comedic flair in her short scenes. Athena Kerins was tres fantastique as the main French taunter and Kyus Hicks was strong as both the Head Knight of Ni and Herbert’s father. Jordan Kerr plays the earnest servant Concorde with exceptional comedy.
Everyone involved in Spamalot should be exceptionally proud of the result of their hard work over the past few months.
Get your tickets for shows tonight and tomorrow online and watch our preview below to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes preparation. You can also find hundreds of full resolution, downloadable photos from the show on the photo gallery.
Photos by Mike Jackson, Monica Jackson, Kent Leahy-Trill, Erin Anderson & Darin Steinkey