Maine has been experiencing a lot of spam over the past week. Reports of the incident began in the midcoast last week and have since spread south to Ogunquit.

Mayhem and madness have ensued, but there’s no need to double the firewalls on your computer. The only infectious attachment with this spam is laughter. And, this is one virus Mainers are reveling in catching.

Maine State Music Theatre opened its production of Eric Idle’s highly irreverent Arthurian farce, “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” last week. Now Ogunquit has picked up the Grail, delivering its own, completely separate, rendition.

Ogunquit’s production features the Tony-nominated costumes and elaborate sets from the Broadway production. Fun embellishments include an animated curtain, featuring frolicking Python cartoons and a karaoke-like audience sing-a-long to top off the evening.

“Spamalot” is “lovingly ripped off” from the renowned motion picture, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” from British comic greats Idle, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. The film spoofed the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, with Chapman leading the absurd quest as King Arthur.

Idle took the iconic film to new zany heights in 2005, bringing the wickedly wacky Python magic to Broadway, with Tim Curry starring as Arthur. For this latest rendition, stage and screen star Charles Shaughnessy steps into Chapman’s comic boots.

The aristocratic-born British native recently portrayed Saint-John Powell on AMC’s “Mad Men,” but is best known to American audiences for his past roles as Maxwell Sheffield on the CBS hit “The Nanny” and his long-running role as Shane Donovan on the daytime soap, “Days of Our Lives.”

Shaughnessy channels everything that you’d expect Python’s Arthur to be: handsome, suave and entertainingly self-important. And, it’s all delivered with a literal wink, wink to the audience.

Critically acclaimed Broadway diva Rachael York stars as the Lady of the Lake, amusing the audience with laughable haughtiness and vocal acrobatics that showcase her gorgeous range.

Also starring are Broadway veterans Richard Costa as Sir Bedevere (Concorde, Dennis’ Mother), Matthew Greer as Sir Lancelot (French Taunter, Tim the Enchanter) and Jeffry Denman as Sir Robin (Guard, Brother Maynard).

Costa previously appeared in the Las Vegas production of “Spamalot” and Greer reprises his role from the first national tour. Audiences will remember Denman from his prior Ogunquit appearance as Bobby Childs in “Crazy for You” in 2007.

Ayal Miodovnik (Sir Galahad, Prince Hebert’s Father, Black Knight), Jeffrey Scott Stevens (Patsy, Guard 2) and Christopher Sutton (Prince Hebert, Historian, Not Dead Fred, French Guard, Lead Minstrel) round out the cast, along with an ensemble of 12 eye-catching singers and dancers.

Python fans will get a kick out of the subtle and overt Monty Python references, with all the beloved characters to laugh with and at.

Broadway aficionados will also get a hearty laugh from Idle’s satirical homage to popular productions such as “Fiddler on the Roof.”

And, Ogunquit throws in a fair amount of inside jokes, alluding to such past productions as “Les Miserables” and “Singing in the Rain,” as well as incorporating comments about Sally Struthers and poking fun at Shaughnessy’s well-known roles.

“Spamalot” is a delight for Python fans and non-Pythonians alike. The score is memorable and the plot is absolutely ridiculous. If you appreciate British humor, “Spamalot” is a surefire way to laugh away your troubles.

 

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at: [email protected]