JPAC's SPAMALOT Will Make You Glad Your Not Dead Yet!
Reviewed by: JOSEPH HILLENMEYER
Monty Python’s comedy could be hit or miss at times: some sketches had you had rolling on the floor, others utterly confused and some just weren’t as funny after crossing the Atlantic.
However, Monty Python and The Holy Grail was certainly one of the hits and “Spamalot,” the musical “lovingly ripped off from the motion picture” is no exception. With book and lyrics by Eric Idle, the show hit Broadway in 2005 to critical acclaim, adding additional song and dance numbers to Monty Python’s ridiculous sense of humor.
The Jedlicka Performing Arts Center is drawing to a close their 2012 – 2013 season with a performance of “Spamalot” at their theater in Cicero, Illinois, with direction by Dante J. Orfei.
The storyline follows a parodied version of the Arthurian Legend, as King Arthur (Patrick Perry) and perhaps the worst collection of knights ever banded together, go on a quest for the Holy Grail (although they are unsure how an all-knowing, all-seeing God has lost his cup). The band of idiots is defeated at nearly every turn from the likes of farting Frenchman, the Knight’s who say ni and a ferocious bunny rabbit.
All of the adventures are joined by hilariously absurd musical numbers such as “He is Not Dead Yet,” “The Song That Goes Like This” and “Run Away.” Song and dance by the entire
cast and ensemble was without error at the April 19 performance and Christopher Pazdernik’s choreography keeps the cast looking very professionally ridiculous the entire time.
The standout by far in Spamalot was Jamie Szynal as The Lady of the Lake. One agrees with her when she comes out pissing mad (The Diva’s Lament) in the second act that her role is so diminished after the grail quest begins.
Steve Malone also shines as Patsy, providing some of the most comical lines as the squire quips observations about the idiocy of his knight, King Arthur, throughout the play.
Offstage, the performance was matched with outstanding live music from a 14-piece band under the direction of JPAC regular John Warren.
The set was a combination of constructed scenery, alternating with a digital, projected backdrop. I am not personally a fan of digitally created scenery and during the JPAC performance I found it particularly distracting as it sometimes hovered over cast members and laid a sort of haze over the stage. However, it was a minor setback and quickly overshadowed by the otherwise fantastic performance put on by JPAC.
The play runs two hours and fifteen minutes with intermission and does feature some adult scenarios, crude language, and some minor pyrotechnics in the second act. JPAC’s performance runs through May 4, 2013 at 3801 S. Central Ave., Cicero, IL. Tickets are currently available at www.jpactheatre.com or by calling (708) 656-1800. For calendar information please visit www.TheatreInChicago.com