Spamalot In The Hub

Silly is in short supply in Boston right now. The winter’s been rough, fuel prices are brutal, street parking has been reduced to an arctic version of the Hatfield/McCoy blood feud. Everyone really needs to lighten up — enter “Spamalot.”

And not a moment too soon!

This rousing, ridiculous, unholy mess of a musical dares you not to have a good time — it’s a battle, thankfully, you cannot win. The National Tour of the Tony Award winning show is charming the chain mail off of everyone who enters The Opera House.

This is old fashioned seltzer down your pants comedy. “Lovingly” ripped off from the movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” — original Python member Eric Idle has shaped a musical out of the company’s fractured take on the Arthurian legend. Nothing’s sacred here, the Broadway musical is both celebrated and skewered with songs that cleverly stitch together the nonsensical narrative. Idle’s partners in musical crime, John Du Prez and director Mike Nichols know how to pace a show that’s based on much loved bits — and serve them up hot and tangy.

And what bits there are, from the opening absurdity of the “Fisch Schlapping Song” to the Knights of Ni, the taunting French soldiers, and Tim the Enchanter — they’re all here. Throw in showgirls, ethnic jokes, sex jokes — it’s grown up fun in spades, but not too off the charts for grandma and the kids.

“Spamalot” is all about King Arthur, and in this production Michael Siberry absolutely rules in the role. Charming, bombastic, clueless and wise. He invites you in with his smile and wonderful baritone, and makes you want to sign on with him immediately. What a joy.

There’s only one principal female role in “Spamalot” and that’s the Lady of the Like. In the right hands this character can absolutely take over the show, and own it. Esther Stilwell doesn’t quite get there. She inhabits the Lady, but she doesn’t rule the stage. Stilwell’s performance is certainly solid and enjoyable — she’s great in the “Find Your Grail” number — but she doesn’t quite have the maniacal streak to pull off “The Diva’s Lament” in Act II.

Ben Davis is excellent as the matinee idol Sir Galahad, and equally hilarious as the bellowing father of Prince Herbert.

Patrick Heusinger is perfect as macho Sir Lancelot, and does a terrific job with his role’s hilarious character shift. He’s also incredibly versatile, going delightfully over the top as The French Taunter.

Beverly’s own James Beaman checks in as Sir Robin. He’s a lover not a fighter, and has a lot of fun with the “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” number. The company has a ball right along with him.

Nice work too from Jeff Dumas as Arthur’s faithful servant, Patsy. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is sweetly delivered both with whimsy and gravitas.

You only have until January 27th to catch “Spamalot.” I strongly advise you to take up the quest.


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