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Even if you do not know anything about "Monty Python and The Holy Grail," their Flying Circus of a TV show, or any of the characters and other movies, this play works.
But, if you do, it works on a much higher level. This cast brings that higher level to life and helps bring back those wonderful memories To fans of the TV show, that includes the phrase "And now for something completely different," right?
Location: Timber Lake Playhouse 42.052791 ; -89.938435 Rousing applause goes to John Chase (King Arthur), Sharisse Hamilton (The Lady of The Lake), James Beaudry (Sir Robin), Jess Ford (Sir Lancelot), Matthew C. Webb (Patsy), Elliot March (Sir Belvedere) and Cody Jolly (Historian and more). Beaudry, who is also the executive director of TLP, gets back in the game with this one.
After the performance, he noted that without the work of Courtney Crouse, who is company manager this summer, that would not have happened. He quipped that he was getting too old for this but, "without Courtney being able to step in for two weeks, I would not have been able to perform."
It was nice to see him back on stage as Sir Robin and lend his talent that helped push him into the role he has at the theater. The fun of watching the characters use the word play and expressions along the way is a delight. Listen carefully for those wacky lyrics, dual roles and odd items. That includes a cow, rabbit, Trojan rabbit and the Knights Who Say Ni, just to name a few. And let's not forget those showgirls. They cheer, sing, dance and demand attention.
There is no way you will go away without remembering them. The Scene Change, just remember the Scene Change, as in Lexie Plath. She is talent that oozes sex appeal. She backs it up with stage presence and talent, as does Sarah Larson. When the knights head to Camalot (a casino), look for all of this on display. More of the eye-catching showgirls are Danille Davilla, Genna-Paige Kanago, Abby Taylor, Tayloir Pace and Hannah-Jo Weisberg.
Webb as Patsy continues to be a comic master at TLP this summer. Ford as Lancelot no doubt watched Eric Idle and Michael Palin from Monty Python for his spot on performance. Add in John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones from that famous troupe to make it complete. March as Belvedere is solid and shows a charisma that needs to be noticed. Jolly, in a few roles, proves he can do it all.
But, the glue needs to be there and that is Chase as King Arthur. Watching his facial expressions when these encounters take place is priceless. He expressions and reactions are a hoot. Hamilton as The Lady of the Lake is a showstopper - - on purpose. That is her role and wow, what a role. The diva belts out of tune, pulls it back, and commands respect. In many shows, there is that song that packs an emotional punch. She gets it and more. The fact that she can make it emotional with those lyrics, is comedy gold.
All of this needs to come together to pull out the silliness and the company must be able to sing and dance, to boot. Note the spectacular choreography in this one. Beaudry, along with Cameron, mae their mark on this one. Rounding out the company here are Joe Capstick, Alex Johnson, Zak McMahon, Dylan Pessman,Tim Wessel and choreographer Turner.
Ultimately, there is a message here. It is all about searching for your own personal grail. How ones gets there is up to the individual. While searching for the grail, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
But, it is, once again, the company coming together, that is a joy to watch. From the opening salvo of the "Fisch Schlapping Song" to the reprise to "The Song That Goes Like This," this one will makes the search for the Holy Grail of whole lot of fun.
"Spamalot" is such a solid, splendid musical comedy, it deserves a second look. Make those plans now. It runs through Aug. 11. Timber Lake Playhouse is located at 8215 Black Oak Road in Mt. Carroll. Call 815-244-2035.