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5:19 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Review: 'Spamalot' hilariously great show

L-R Sir Robin (J. C. Lawler), Sir Lancelot (Nathan Wiggins), King Arthur (Greg Fine), Sir Bedevere (Bill Haas) and Sir Galahad (Austin Olsen) (Courtesy photos)

L-R Sir Robin (J. C. Lawler), Sir Lancelot (Nathan Wiggins), King Arthur (Greg Fine), Sir Bedevere (Bill Haas) and Sir Galahad (Austin Olsen) (Courtesy photos)

Eric Idle's "Spamalot," directed by Bruce Lanning and starring Greg Fine, Kate Howell, Julian Jenney, J.C. Lawler, Nathan Wiggins, Austin Olsen, Bill Hass, Isaac B. White, Doug Suits, Clint Slay and Logan Olson has opened at the Prescott Center for the Arts as its final show of the season. Based on the film, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," the show is hilarious and just plain fun to watch.

Quite a few of the classic bits from the original film are in the show, including Arthur's confrontation with the Black Knight, finding a shrubbery for the Knights who say "Ni" and the coconut argument. However, there's plenty of great bits in the show that aren't in the film or are borrowed from other films, such singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from "Life of Brian."

And the reason that other bits are just so funny is possibly because they either come out of left field or are so audacious that the audience can't help but laugh at scenes so brassily included.

For the former, the French knights from the film are there, but they carry the Trojan Bunny offstage by doing the stereotypical French grunting to the tune of "Look Down" from "Les Miserables" and there's the beginning, where the actors think the historian said "Finland" instead of "England."

As to the latter, the only example needed is the musical number "You Can't Succeed on Broadway," where Sir Robin declares that a Broadway musical won't succeed without Jews. And during the song, the audience is thrown so many parodies of Jewish stereotypes they can't help but laugh at the brazenness of the song and its content.

The show also succeeds very well in fourth-wall jokes, from singing a generic Broadway love song ("The Song that Goes Like this") to the Lady of the Lake just walking on stage in the middle of Act II and belting out "Whatever Happened to My Part?"

But none of the hilarity would be as funny if the acting wasn't up to snuff. Fortunately, it is. Fine does quite well in presenting Arthur as Pythons made him to be: the bold leader who acts like he knows what he's doing, but just can't get a handle on just what's going on half the time. And Howell's Lady of the Lake is perfectly orchestrated and acted to be such an attention-seeking Diva that the aforementioned song works very well. Olson also perfectly plays the Black Knight as an idiot who doesn't know when to quit.

And once again, the play being so well performed and acted speaks highly to the directorial abilities of Lanning. Not once does anything drag or take the audience out of the show. Rather, everything is so perfectly dead on - especially the jokes - that the audience continues to get sucked in for the ride.

"Spamalot" needs to be seen. It's one of the best shows put on by the PCA this season.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 5-6, and Thursday-Saturday, June 11-13 and 18-20, as well as 2 p.m. June 7 and 14.

To purchase tickets, visit www.pfaa.net.

- Jason Wheeler, The Daily Courier