NODA ACCOLADE OF EXCELLENCE AWARD, 2016
“Spamalot” – The Island Savoyards
Monty Python fan or not, it would be hard to fault this spectacular production of Spamalot. The costumes were both colourful and at times quite magnificent, particularly those of Ashleigh Mackness, the spirited Lady of the Lake, whose vocal contributions and sheer exuberance almost stole the show. One of the other performers whose costumes too are worthy of mention, is Tommie Venier – the androgynous Prince Herbert. The cleverly conceived, all-embracing white smock gave nothing away, so one needed to consult the excellently produced souvenir programme to verify that it was indeed a young man.
Although, of course, the story-line for Spamalot is the search for the Holy Grail, this is almost incidental, as the real interests are the characterisations, amusing incidents and vocal expertise generated by this talented cast. It was a pleasure to see and hear Steve Jones of the powerful voice, as King Arthur. He was made for the part and would have dominated the show if it hadn’t been for his co-stars, many of whom were equally impressive in different ways. Rodger Hooper was one example. Despite his lowly rank as Patsy, King Arthur’s carry-all servant, Rodger was a constant source of amusement and was the most endearing character on stage.
Other memorable performances were those of Brad Barnley a singing rival to King Arthur, Sir Bedevere; an almost unrecognisable Bertie Everson whose characterisation as Sir Galahad was enhanced by his blond wig; Nathan Mellor, a formidable Sir Lancelot; Ben Spurling as Sir Robin, a Pythonish look-alike and John Hammond as the Historian.
The sets, some of which included speeches by lewd, taunting French soldiers from ramparts, were extremely good and functional. The diction and projection of those when speaking were the best I’ve heard in many a long day. (Island drama groups, please note. No more T.V. mumblings, sotto voce. Model yourselves on Steve Jones)
Last but by no mean least, the chorus and dancers and all those extra minor leads deserve unstinting praise. The choreography was at times inspirational and I for one, was both amused and impressed by that little added touch which created the mimed mounting of horses by the Knights and the ensuing cantering and dismounting that occurred at appropriate instances throughout the show. Once again, the fourteen piece orchestra was on top form, with seats behind the conductor deliberately left unoccupied to ensure no-one`s view was obstructed. The lavishly produced, glossy souvenir programme was well worth its modest £2, and if all the above praise sounds rather profuse, I`m sure those who saw Spamalot would heartily agree that such praise was indeed, justly deserved..
Director: Anthony Wright
Musical Director: Andrew Woodford
Choreography: Ashleigh Mackness and Rosie Sales
Performed February 2016
By Rita Boffin. Originally submitted to NODA’s website. For more information on the 2016 NODA awards visit our earlier posting here.
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