By PAM HARBAUGH
It’s Monty Python through and through with Titusville Playhouse’s spot-on hysterical production of “Spamalot.”
The show bubbles over with so much nutty dialogue (courtesy of Eric Idle) and chock-full-o-nuts action (courtesy director Steven Heron) that your own raucous laughter just might upstage actors.
Indeed, TPI’s stellar cast takes this musical and squeezes every drop of humor from it.
Gregory Galbreath, who was so full of heartfelt yearning as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” turns his fine voice and strong stage presence into stalwart King Arthur as he seeks knights to help him on his quest for the Holy Grail. Christopher Rye, who was impassioned Enjolras in “Les Mis,” becomes the King’s fool, ever using cocoanut halves to clip clop through the countryside. As the sweet, round-faced, hapless Patsy, Mr. Rye is the perfect foil for the serious Mr. Galbreath and, yes, has a Nathan Lane-esque presence.
Alexander Nathan takes on multiple roles, including that of Lancelot, the head Knight of Ni and Tim the Enchanter. His turn as the French Taunter is exquisite as he uses every ploy to insult the English King and his knights.
As Sir Robin, Kyle McDonald gives 150 in “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway.” Funny, though, on opening night, when he sang out “You won’t succeed on Broadway if you haven’t any Jews,” you could feel the politically correct discomfort in the TPI audience. However, as Mr. McDonald and the entire dancing and cavorting cast lavished the stage, the laughs began to build.
Greg Coleman is an absolute scream as the Historian, Not Dead Fred and Prince Herbert. This lanky guy reveals a real flair for comedy as he twists his body into a multitude of comic contortions, all the while maintaining miraculous balance and timing.
Other standouts include Ken Barnes as Sir Galahad, William Merklinger as Sir Bedevere and the Black Knight, and, of course, Amy McDonald as sassy and beautifully voiced Lady of the Lake.
While the music by John Du Prez and Mr. Idle was presented via a professional recording rather than live orchestra, Mr. Heron taps into his inner Broadway soul to bring out some full bodied staging in the musical numbers. Helping him is Sarah’s School of Dance which supplied some eye-catching pom pom girls complete with flips and splits.
Although a couple of projections (at least, that’s what it seemed to be the intention) didn’t work on opening night, the visuals here are solid. Scenic designer Jay Bleakney does some very smart work, especially obvious when a castle is magically brought onto stage from lord-only-knows-where. Philip Lupo’s colorful lighting design adds to the fun. Costumer Katy Ball paints the stage with a wealth of costumes, wisely rented from a few professional costume houses.
The program notes gratitude to the Henegar Center for the Arts, which mounted a production of this musical last month. In a collaborative spirit, the Henegar loaned TPI some props for the show.
Granted, many of you saw that production. Nevertheless, you are urged to see the Titusville Playhouse production as well. You will see new faces, which is always a joy. And, you will laugh, again…and again…and leave the theater looking on “the bright side of life.”
Photo by James Berkley Photography
SIDE O’ GRITS: Monty Python’s “Spamalot” runs through April 17 at Titusville Playhouse, 301 Julia St., Titusville. It performs 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (only 8 p.m. Sat., April 26). Tickets are $20 to $22 with discounts for seniors/military/students. Handling charges may apply. Call 321-268-1125 or visit titusvilleplayhouse.com.