Looking for a meaty comedy of questionable content? Then grab your coconut halves and trot over to Maine State Music Theatre for an evening of roll-in-the-aisles ridiculousness from the twisted genius of Monty Python’s Eric Idle.

Maine State Music Theatre is one of only five regional theaters to be granted the privilege of staging “Spamalot.” And, one thing’s for sure, this hammed-up spoof is one audiences won’t soon forget.

Those who are easily offended, beware. “Spamalot” may be loosely based on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, but it is far from being your typical fairy tale.

In Python tradition, Idle has masterfully crafted a musical that parodies all things sacred, including his own work. Religion, politics, social hierarchy and societal expectations get a comic makeover in this perfectly irreverent farce. Even the horrific plague of the Middle Ages is an outrageous source of laughter.

Idle weaves it all into a pseudo-Broadway production that overtly lampoons the contrived art of musicals with such beautifully executed songs as “The Song that Goes Like This,” “Find Your Grail,” “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” and “The Diva’s Lament.”

At the heart of “Spamalot” is Monty Python’s 1975 cult-classic film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Python fans will revel in hearing the iconic lines hilariously voiced on Maine State Music Theatre’s stage.

All the utterly (and udder-ly) ridiculous characters are there for the audience’s laughing pleasure, including Not Dead Fred (Chuck Ragsdale), Patsy (Charles Abbott), the almighty feet of God (voiced by Idle), the French Taunter (Adam Pelty), the Knights Who Say Ni! (led by Pelty), Tim the Enchanter (Pelty), the Black Knight (Curt Dale Clark), Prince Herbert (Ragsdale), Prince Herbert’s Father (Clark), the Monk (Jeremy Webb), the Flying Nun (Tyler Foy), and both the Trojan and Killer Rabbits.

Of course, the musical features King Arthur (Nat Chandler), the Lady of the Lake (Daniella Dalli), and Arthur’s ragtag bunch of misfit knights: Sir Robin (Webb), Sir Lancelot (Pelty), Sir Galahad (Clark) and Sir Bedevere (Steve Calzaretta).

Maine State Music Theatre has gone all out to deliver a season closure that will resonate in the memories of patrons for years to come.

The costumes, wigs and props are from the London professional production. And, they are both stunningly beautiful and absolutely ludicrous.

Marc Robin directs an amazing cast that has wholeheartedly taken on the challenge of performing this wonderfully asinine production. Chandler is equal parts charming and pompous as King Arthur, and Dalli is a powerhouse as the Lady of the Lake, backed by an unforgettable cast of Laker Girls.

The rest of the primary cast members transform into an eclectic collection of characters, with Webb, Pelty, Clark and Calzaretta not only slaying the audience as the knights but also shining in a variety of nonsensical roles. Pelty is an endless source of laughter and Clark is priceless as the Black Knight.

“Spamalot” marks Charles Abbott’s final production as artistic director for Maine State, and what a way to go out. His performance as Patsy is a definite must-see.

Whether you’re a Monty Python follower or just in need of a laugh-out-load evening of fun, this is a production well worth checking out. It’s a definite jolly good time that always looks on the bright side of life.

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]


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