Speakeysie News Desk – March 11, 2023
Monty Python is alive and well and currently residing in Sandy Springs. While this is surprisingly my first taste of this show, I found it delightfully as campy as the potted meat that I enjoy frying over an open fire which dons the show’s namesake — SPAMALOT. When I say campy, I’m referring to the show’s humor. Not to overuse my camping simile, but this Spam-filled show served up in Sandy Springs is actually glamping at it’s finest.
Opening night of City Springs Theatre Company’s production of SPAMALOT was met with a large and appreciative audience. You don’t have to be a Monty Python fan to appreciate all this show has to offer. On the other hand, if you’re both a Monty Python as well as a musical theater lover, you’re in for a real treat. This show takes the hilarity of the story of the Holy Grail and pairs it with one over-the-top show stopping number after another. As the creators of Monty Python are masters of British satirical parody, that same genre permeates through the musical numbers, many complete with a glitzy chorus of show girls. Broadway aficionados will also catch so many cookies from other shows and a plethora of Broadway folklore embedded throughout the show.
SPAMALOT first appeared on Broadway 2005 and received a whopping 14 Tony Award Nominations, winning three: Best Musical, Best Director, and Best Featured Actress in a musical. With book and lyrics by Eric Idle and Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, the show is billed as “A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” from which the original screenplay was written by none other than the Pythons: Graham Chapman, Jon Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.
First of all, let me say BRAVO to the entire cast and crew of this show. I’m always impressed with the Broadway quality programming City Springs offers. Director Shane Delancy’s vision for this show didn’t disappoint, and was completely ‘Pythonesque’ from the animated projections to the set pieces (my favorite being “the very dark and expensive forest). The artistic quality and variety of costumes and scenic design by Tim Hatley were amazing, and the lighting (Dalton Hamilton) and sound (Anthony Narciso) were completely on point, especially for an opening night performance. Choreographer Liz Legrande’s wide repertoire of experience is evident in the number of eye-catching dance numbers that span a variety of genres.
As far as the performers go, we’re looking at a deep and wide talent pool that would impress the actual Lady of the Lake herself. First off, Googie Uterhardt returns to City Springs as King Arthur. Where his previous roles including Moonface Martin in ANYTHING GOES and the entire D’Ysquith family in GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER show his innate comedic timing, as Arthur, Googie gets a chance to flex his deadpan muscles. Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail is serious business, and Googie plays the part with the correct amount of pomp, circumstance, and ridiculous amount of kingly self-importance.
Fun fact — Billy Harrington Tighe (Sir Galahad et al) and Kristine Reese (Lady of the Lake) are a real-life couple off stage. They met while attending the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and have traveled the world performing opposite of one other in Wicked, Pippin and numerous other productions. They now reside in metro Atlanta with their son Harrigan and are the City Springs Theatre Conservatory’s Pre-Pro Company Directors as well as College Process Directors, in addition to their work in Main Stage productions. For the first time at City Springs Theatre Company, after each being in numerous shows with City Springs, they finally sing alongside each other as Lady of the Lake and Sir Galahad in the number ‘The Song that Goes Like This’. Billy delivers a noble performance as Galahad, and this is the first time I’ve seen Kristine on stage. I was blown away by her amazing voice. The Lady of the Lake is ever changing and each number celebrates a different musical genre. Not only does Kristine pull each genre off expertly, her range and ability to riff are flawless.
David Rosetti is delightful as Sir Robin as well as all the other characters he portrays. We love having him in the ATL. He most recently directed Mary Poppins at the Aurora Theatre. While I’m quite familiar with his work as a director and choreographer, it was delightful to finally see him on stage portraying a wide variety of personas. His hilarious solo number, ‘You Won’t Succeed on Broadway’ brings down the house. I hope we will see more of him on Atlanta stages in the future.
One of my favorite performances came from Roberto Mendez in his CSTC debut as Patsy. He plays the part of the overworked and underacknowledged peasant with a lovely pair of coconuts (ergo clip-clop of horses hooves). His rendition of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ should make Eric Idle proud. I especially loved his reactions throughout Arthur’s ‘I’m all Alone’.
Other Key-noteworthy performances were delivered by Nick Walker Jones as Sir Lancelot, and Kyle Robert Carter as Sir Belvedere and Tyler Pirrung as Historian and Prince Herbert. The rest of the cast did an incredible job in the many ensemble numbers.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted show to tickle your funny bone which also happens to have 22 show-stopping musical numbers, SPAMALOT is definitely your pick. This show is Speakeysie HIGHLY recommended! Get your tickets at City Springs Theatre Company before they sell out!