Summer Silliness: Port Tobacco Players Frolic in Spamalot
What happens in Camelot stays in Camelot…and the Port Tobacco Players gamely give it their all in a sparkling and entertaining performance of Spamalot, a musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle.
Directed and choreographed by Brooke L. Howells-Weiser, the performance I saw last night faltered at times in Act 1 but gained momentum, pacing, and energy to deliver a very satisfying second act. Aided by some strong lead performances and some clean tapping by the male ensemble, Port Tobacco Players’ Spamalot careens giddily through the mad humor of Monty Python, adding moments of comic delight in unexpected places.
At last night’s performance, the orchestra, under the capable musical direction of James D. Watson, added to the antics with a strong – although occasionally overpowering – performance. The stage was consistently too dark, leaving the actors in half shadows. The sound blend was also off -making the harmonies off-kilter and rendering much of what the minor characters said less than understandable.
Jimmy Payne graced the stage as King Arthur, the often clueless monarch leading the quest for the Holy Grail. Payne solidly anchored the show with a strong performance and gorgeous vocals, creating an imminently likeable character and providing the perfect foil for the silliness of the plot. Michael J. Margelos was spot-on in his rendition of the long-suffering, coconut clapping Patsy. Payne and Margelos lifted the show with their chemistry and humor, particularly in Always Look on the Bright Side of Life and I’m All Alone.
Payne and Margelos were supported by a troupe of hopelessly inept knights in their quest for the holy grail:
Patrick Pruitt delivered a standout performance as Sir Lancelot, Knight of Ni, and Tim the Enchanter, especially delighting in His Name is Lancelot.
Brian Merritt was wonderfully expressive as the timidly brave Sir Robin – and his showmanship in You Won’t Succeed on Broadway shined in Act Two.
Matt Jones was a scenery chewing Prince Herbert and Kyle Rapp had a nice memorable bit as The Black Knight.
Carmel Ferrer created her own moments as the attention-craving Lady of the Lake with a comic delivery of The Diva’s Lament, and she and Ryan Dolan (Galahad) delivered a funny rendition of “The Song That Goes Like This.”
Amy Wathen Cooksey’s costumes echoed the Monty Python world nicely. Chris Magee, Jeff Merritt, and John Merritt’s scenic design was adequate to the tale, with some particularly inspired touches, such as the feet of God that descend from on-high.
If you are looking for light entertainment and dedicated silliness, seek no farther than Port Tobacco Players’ Spamalot, which ends its royal run today at 3 PM.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours, with intermission.
Spamalot has one more performance today at 3 PM at Port Tobacco Players – 508 Charles Street, in La Plata, MD. For tickets to today’s performance, call the box office at (301) 932-6819, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of ‘Spamalot’ at The Port Tobacco Players: Part 1: Jimmy Payne.
Meet the Cast of ‘Spamalot’ at the Port Tobacco Players: Part 2: Ryan Dolan.
Meet the Cast of ‘Spamalot’ at the Port Tobacco Players: Part 3: Carmel Ferrer.
Meet the Cast of ‘Spamalot’ at The Port Tobacco Players’: Part 4: Michael J. Margelos.
Meet the Cast of ‘Spamalot’ at The Port Tobacco Players’: Part 5: Patrick Pruitt.
Meet the Cast of ‘Spamalot’ at The Port Tobacco Players: Part 6: Brian Merritt.