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‘Spamalot’ sizzles at Chatham Playhouse

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King Arthur Credits: Jill Fischer
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Lady of the Lake Credits: Jill Fischer
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Monks Credits: Jill Fischer
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CHATHAM, NJ – If you’re a lover of Monty Python humor (and even if you’re not), you’re  in for a hilarious evening at The Chatham Players’ production of “Spamalot.”

This no-holds-barred show is insanely silly from beginning to end, with all the antics of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and then some. Mark Smith is King Arthur, on a quest for the Holy Grail, along with Patsy, his humble servant and companion. Of course, they gallop around with coconuts and trot without horses. They soon meet Sir Robin, played with glee by Chip Prestera. 

Sir Lancelot (Peter Horn) also does a rousing turn as The French Taunter and Knight of Ni. Robyn Lee Horn is terrific as the Lady of the Lake, who complains about her shrinking part in 

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Act II.” Her brash manner is perfect for her various incarnations as she more or less guides Arthur in his search for the Holy Grail. Her duet with Galahad, “The Song that Goes Like This,” is a witty turn on the idea that every show must have a love song, but not by Andrew Lloyd Weber. This one, the singers lament, goes on and on.  Mike Patierno is Sir Galahad as well as The Black Knight and other weird characters. 

What makes this show really dazzle is the terrific ensemble singing and dancing, sprightly costumes and musical direction by Patrick Phillips. James Mosser directed the play at a nimble pace. The plot is absurd, which makes it even more appealing. Jennifer Williams’ choreography first has the cast on stage for a Fisch Schlapping Dance. But the Historian (Gus Ibranyi) interrupts to explain the play is set in England, not Finland. Costumes by Cheryl Galante and Christina Kirk run the gamut from Las Vegas to South America, the Middle Ages to Broadway. 

On opening night, the show had the audience standing, cheering and singing along with ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Everyone also stood for the Holy Hand Grenade scene, delivered with just the right send-off of a religious rite. Then we had a splashy Broadway show tune, with Sir Robin leading the cast in “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway (without Jews.)”  If anyone takes offense at this musical run amok, they’re missing the point.

Kudos to the cast and crew for a super production.  “Spamalot” continues through May 21 at The Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue in Chatham. For tickets, call 973-635-7363 or visit chathamplayers.org.

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