Reviews - sept. 2020
It's been quite awhile since I had the pleasure to sit down and write a review. So it was with glee I went to see Spamalot last night, only to find out I wasn't alone.
That wasn't a surprise - there's a LOT of theater people who've been bottled up WAY too long, and were looking for something to do. What I did NOT expect was have Matt Palm, the long-time and mostly-beloved theatre reviewer from the Orlando Sentinel plop down next to me!
On average, Matt gets more eyes on a review in 15 minutes then I do in a good month, so my review became more or less superfluous the moment he sat down. One caveat - to see more than an article or two a month, you need to pay to read the articles. No paying here, therefore a few people want to read this, so I'm writing it anyway! Here's a link to Matt's favorable review: www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/arts-and-theater/os-et-spamalot-review-wayne-densch-20200919-mjgnjyurdjftjim2d2bqummb3q-story.html
As stated, Matt's review was favorable, and I won't consciously paraphrase him, except in one area that should be of concern: roughly 1/3 of the audience felt it appropriate to either not wear a mask at all, or to remove it upon being seated. WDPAC's instructions were clear that the audience should expect to wear a mask - even the numerous cast members performed with masks during the show. Not to do so while sitting for two hours among other people could shut down theater for another 6 months, so do the right thing and LEAVE YOUR MASK ON!
On a side note: I found the mask wearing by he onstage actors a minor distraction; WDPAC announced they'd allowed the actors to choose whether to them. If you're going to wear a mask, you'd better make your movements and words larger-than-life, since we don't get any facial expressions to work with. One actor's mask came off on opening night, and I noticed he had no expressions with the mask off, most likely because he didn't think them necessary with the mask on. It's exactly the opposite, they're MORE necessary, not less.
Spamalot is a screw-ball comedy; if you don't like Monty Python, this show won't work for you. There's rarely a middle-ground person, you either love them, hate them, or have never seen/heard any of their work (which is hard to believe, honestly). Last night's audience was in a forgiving mood, being opening night, having finally gone out to see some theater, and obviously filled with Python enthusiasts like myself. And just like doing a good 'Who's on First?' routine, timing and precision are frequently needed to make the jokes and scenes work - and sometimes they just fell flat Opening night. Did I still sit there with a smile on my face, mouthing some of the best known scenes? Yes I did.
Working with such a well-known piece, odds were good that some of the actors would be aware or VERY familiar with the text, and the show left me questioning if the choices made were the actors trying not to mimic the timing and diction on certain lines, or if the Director told them to avoid it, or if the script said to do so.
Quibbles aside - Lindsey Franxman knocked out the Lady of the Lake/Guinevere with tremendous vocals. Adam Cornett covered multiple roles but his transformation to Galahad* was hilarious. Tad Kincade did a good King Arthur, and the ensembles handles their parts wonderfully - I particularly enjoyed the restlessness from the 'Laker Girls' ensemble during 'The Song That Goes Like This'.
The costumes on loan from Penguin Point were VERY good, and the sets and design (which I've knocked WDPAC about in the past) were well above the level I'd seen there. Sabrina Allen-Biron - well done indeed!
Go out and see this show - but PLEASE: keep your mask on!
Grade: B+ (some language and adult situations, small children won't get the jokes anyway)
* - It's always something! I had a VERY pleasant email from 'Steve G' pointing out that I said Adam Cornett's transformation was to Lancelot(!), instead of Galahad. I've corrected the review; thanks to Steve G for the correction, and apologies to Adam for the gaffe!