Saturday, September 14, 2019

REVIEW: A very entertaining Spamalot at Mercury Theatre

We saw Spamalot at the Mercury Theatre recently, and it is a very entertaining show, especially if you love Monty Python or silly humor.  Even if you don't know Monty Python, it would be very entertaining and well worth seeing.

DISCLOSURE:  We received review tickets in order to review the show.  This review has no relationship to the cost of the tickets.  I take my integrity seriously, and so should you.
All photos provided by theatre.

The show is (as the ad says) lovingly ripped off from the Monty Python movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."   That movie is a collection of absurdist sketches all themed in the world of Camelot, but Camelot is more of an excuse to do crazy comedy.  Many of the sketches from the movie have entered the classical lexicon of sketch comedy:   (I fart in your general direction, the Knights who say Nee, the airspeed velocity of a sparrow, the killer bunny rabbit, and many others)

The Trojan rabbit.  

Back in the early 2000's, former Python Eric Idle  came up with the idea to create the musical, and it premiered in Chicago before moving to Broadway. It's now back in a smaller, leaner production than the one that was on Broadway, and I think it's all the better for it.  The Mercury team has done a great job of keeping the show funny with minimal sets and props.  Director Walter Stearns keeps it going quickly from moment to moment, and musical director Eugene Dizon makes the most of his 6 piece live orchestra.
The Knights of the Round Table sing and dance.

The cast is uniformly excellent, including Jonah Winston as the ever-jaunty King Arthur, Meghan Murphy as the erotically charged Lady of the Lake, and all the other cast members do a great job.  Of particular note were Adam Fane with a number of memorable comic turns as characters and Adam Ross Brody who was a particularly fantastic cowardly Sir Robin.   (You might think that since my name is Adam, I am unfairly calling out actors named Adam.  Not true.  I calls them as I sees them.)  And all the voices were great.

At the end of the show, my wife marveled at how much talent we have in Chicago, which is definitely true.  My eleven year old son just laughed and laughed.  When musicality and comedy are both performed well, it's a joy to behold!

Ooh la la, the Lady of the Lake.

One piece of criticism from a comic point of view:

While I particularly enjoyed the Black Knight scene (a scene where Arthur and the Black Knight duel, and Arthur keeps on cutting off his extremities, to which the black knight says "It's only a flesh wound."  I felt that the mechanics of it the night I saw it were a little sloppy.  The mechanism of how he lost his legs was too obvious and not well-rehearsed enough.  It doesn't have to be perfect or an illusion, but it can't feel hurried, which is what happened the night I saw it.  I'm sure the actors will get the hang of it and do it cleaner by the end of the run.

All in all, a great night of entertaining theatre in Chicago's LakeView neighborhood!

The show was delightful from beginning to end.

SPAMALOT runs through November 3. The performance schedule for SPAMALOT is Wednesdays at 8 pm, Thursdays at 8 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 pm and 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Individual tickets range from $40-$70, and are available online at,  by phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at the Mercury Theater Box office at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.

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