Monty Python’s Spamalot at Northern Stage
“Always look on the bright side of life . . .”
Humor may have taken a backseat during the worst of pandemic days, but it still poked its head around now and again. Frivolity, on the other hand, was understandably close to non-existent.
Frivolity, silliness, inane one-liners, ridiculous accents, and groan-worthy puns are the reasons to take in Monty Python’s Spamalot, the final production of the 2021-2022 season at Northern Stage in White River Junction, Vermont. Halfway through the opening number, you may begin to remember the charms of the kind of humor that exists just for the fun of it. To wit: a multi-character discourse that asks if a 5-ounce bird can carry a one-pound coconut. (The coconut, by the way, has an important and recurring role.)
While the play is far from serious, the production itself is tight and professional. The costumes, secured from Broadway, are eye-catching, from royal garments to peasant rags. Unbeknownst to the casual observer, that’s live, loud music making its way from a backstage performance room to the stage and audience.
Spamalot has a cast that floods the stage, with some actors playing more than one role, and absolutely everyone singing and dancing. There are three standouts in this production. The first is precision timing, without which the humor would not work. The second is the choreography by Ashleigh King and the dancing itself, which is astounding in its energy and its ubiquity throughout an almost two and one-half hour performance. Finally, while all of the cast members cheerfully inhabit their often absurd characters, Michelle Beth Herman as The Lady of the Lake is worth particular mention. With a voice with range and power, her performance is more than worth the price of a ticket. She is particularly appealing when she sings “Whatever Happened to My Part,” one of several numbers that lampoons the skeleton of every Broadway musical ever produced.
Tickets are available though some performances have been close to sold out. For more information, contact the Box Office or click here for the Northern Stage website. Monty Python’s Spamalot is on stage through May 15, 2022.
(Photos by Mark Washburn. Photo, top, Michelle Beth Herman, center)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.