The cast of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” at Super Summer Theatre ham a lot in this fun production directed by Phil Shelburne.
This Broadway hit, winner of the 2005 Tony award for best musical, is “lovingly ripped off from” the motion picture “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and like the beloved movie, the nonstop silliness grows a little tedious without help from mind-altering substances, like the wine that is liberally poured among the picnickers at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.
When the play is funny, it is the funniest thing you’ll see this summer. But the problem is that the gags begin to wear thin in this spoof of Arthurian legend. There’s not much plot to follow and the characters are caricatures. Even the lively songs, with their funny lyrics, are too silly to become the Broadway standards that we find ourselves humming on the way home.
It’s the play and not the talented cast that wears thin. The amazing Glenn Heath, who played the hilarious Roger De Bris in last summer’s “The Producers,” is back as King Arthur and he lends the part a humorous dignity that makes his knight-errant an almost Quixotic figure tilting at windmills, or in this case, killer rabbits.
The delightful Evan Litt plays Patsy, Arthur’s armor bearer and sound-effects man, who reminds us to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” You’ll be clip-clopping to his coconuts on the way to your car.
The sole female lead, Sandra Huntsman as the Lady of the Lake, complains in her “Diva’s Lament” that she doesn’t get much stage time in this comedy fueled by adolescent male humor (think lots of fart jokes). When Huntsman is on stage, her vocals are the strongest in the show — this lady has a set of pipes.
Her real-life husband, Steve Huntsman, makes a dashingly gay Sir Lancelot, though when he doubles as the French Taunter, his accent slides into Cajun. “His Name is Lancelot,” sung to the tune of Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana,” is one of the funniest numbers in the show.
Sir Dennis Galahad played by Darek Riley and Sir Robin played by Scott Carlton Gibson-Uebele give able comic performances. Riley also appears as the absurdly dauntless Black Knight. Joel Ruud as Tim the Enchanter, Benjamin Loewy as the flatulent Sir Bedevere who also plays “straight” as the homophobic father and Alex Bayless as the Knight who says Ni round out this funny table of knights.
Michael Ross is a show-stopper in all three parts he plays in the show: the stuffy Historian who narrates the Masterpiece Theatre-style prologue to the play, the lively corpse Not Dead Fred and Herbert, the male damsel in distress. Brian Gressley carries on the Monty Python tradition of playing Sir Galahad’s mother in drag.
These leads are strongly supported by the ensemble cast who expertly sing, tap and kick their way through choreographer Greg Kata’s spoof of every Broadway show from “West Side Story” to “Cats” to “Fiddler.” The parody of Broadway styles is particularly hilarious in numbers such as “Knights of the Round Table,” “The Song That Goes Like This” and “Find Your Grail.”
The set is purposely cheap-looking, although the Excalibur doubling for Camelot is a stroke of genius from scenic designer Andy Walmsley. Sandra Huntsman’s costumes are both dazzling and ridiculous.
Director Shelburne intelligently tweaks the show, for example, when he introduces Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Show as a character from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” putting in a plug for the upcoming Super Summer Theatre show. Unfortunately, he allows the pace to drag between the gags in the second act.
Still, there are few more charming ways to spend a summer evening in Las Vegas than under the stars at Spring Mountain Ranch with Super Summer Theatre, even if the humor of “Spamalot” needs lubricating with a few glasses of chardonnay.