LAST WEEKEND: Through August 4 ONLY!
Goofy and grand, Monty Python’s Spamalot allows you to suspend disbelief so you can relax and laugh-a-lot. Just understand that you’re not having more fun that the cast, each of whom really gets his/her part in this screwy fairy tale and satire of big Broadway musicals.
King Arthur (William Lang) is traipsing around the country with sidekick Patsy (Mackenzee Donham-Stradling), looking for knights and a reason to conscript them back to Camelot. He ends up with a handsome crew: Sir Lancelot (Edward Donham-Stradling), Sir Bedevere (William Strohl), Sir Galahad (Jack Litherland), and Sir Robin (Max Woltman). Eventually they set upon the quest for the Holy Grail, but not before they have run into the Lady of the Lake (Courtney Awe), Not Dead Fred (Beau Brennon), The French Taunter (Jess Walter Stafford), and other weirdos, including the crowd-favorite Knights Who Say Ni.
We also have a bevy of lithesome beauties who are variously cheerleaders, Las Vegas chorus girls, and an unlikely troupe of dancing Jewish women, among other personae. A standout in that lovely crowd is Allison Lium as Lady Bountiful.
Whew. Thank your stars that Landmark Musicals is producing this one. No one else in town can handle a large-scale musical like Producer Myra Cochnar and her cadre of hand-picked local talent. Production Designer Dahl Delu has given us a colorful, multimedia set (that’s just a bit tacky on purpose, especially in Vegas). Music Director Darby Fegan impeccably leads the live orchestra and takes a few digs from the actors.
As always, Choreographers Courtney Giannini and Louis Giannini show off their range of skills and knowledge of Broadway with wonderful dancers in numbers like “He Is Not Dead Yet” and “Laker Girls.” Costume Designer Emily Melville outdoes herself with racks full of male and female finery requiring quick changes from the major players. Where does she store it all? Director Gary Bearly brings it all together with panache. Stage Manager Rachel Nelson-Schille, we salute you.
Strong, beautiful voices are a Landmark emblem. Courtney Awe dazzles with her gorgeous rendition of “Come With Me”—and then goes on to show her mastery of different styles and genres, right on through to a full-throated, country-Western rendition of “Find Your Grail.”
William Lang has a fine, manly voice as Arthur. Mackenzee Donham-Stradling as Patsy nails “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Versatile Max Woltman is graceful and lilting in songs like “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway (If You Don’t Have Any Jews).” I’d like to see more of all three performers in song-and-dance shows like this one.
A very special song-and-dance-man is Beau Brennon as Not Dead Fred in Act I, and as Herbert in Act II. He is a natural on stage and his stubbornly sunny smile adds to the delicious absurdity of both roles.
Landmark, its director and choreographers take full advantage of the Rodey Theatre stage to delight and entertain us. Come on down to Spamalot and have a great, big laugh.
—Stephanie Hainsfurther publishes ABQArts.com.
Photo by Max Woltman.