I lost count of the theatrical tropes parodied by this production of Spamalot. Among others, a Sally Bowles pastiche with a figure frozen in a spotlight with hat and chair. Add to this mix some familiar Python gags – coconut halves for horses hooves; knights who like to say ‘ni’; Fisch Slapping Dance – and you begin to get a sense of the pace and energy of the writing and performing.
Among many ironies running through this production is the physical presence of the central character, Bob Harms as King Arthur.
He has features sufficiently heroic to have played an old-style matinee idol King Arthur, yet here he is jesting and gurning as he pursues the grail.
Sarah Harlington as The Lady of the Lake sings splendidly.
She is the character most responsible for breaching the fourth wall of theatrical convention, making direct appeals to the audience for attention when she has not been given enough stage presence.
Rhys Owen is the ever-present Patsy who provides the coconut accompaniment as both a horse and as tap shoes, delivering the foil to King Arthur’s negligent arrogance.
The overall effect of the show depends on ensemble playing. Of the 13 cast members, only two do not play several parts.
The band under musical director Dean McDermott plays well enough.
Daniel Buckroyd directs with pace and invention, up-dating the show to reference some current events while adding allusions to local pubs.
The momentum is maintained throughout and, of course, the audience love a scene where some innocent is propelled on to the stage to further the action.
I must admit to some misgivings about going to see a show where I thought I knew all the best jokes in advance.
Instead, what I experienced was a cast with the energy and commitment to win me over, providing a most enjoyable night in the theatre.
Sapamlot continues at Bridlington Spa until Saturday September 23, daily at 7.30pm plus matinees today and Saturday at 2.30pm.
Tickets: 01262 678258.