Spamalot Review, May 2017 - NODA

Monty Python’s Spamalot is described as “A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail from the original screenplay by: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gillian, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin – and that’s exactly what it is.   It’s a highly irreverent version of Camelot and sticks – very loosely – to the Arthurian legend.  It’s pointless, puerile, spoofy and silly but also enormously funny and has happiness coursing through every scene. It's xenophobic, homophobic and blasphemous but good-natured and a huge amount of fun and I loved it. 

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur and Richard Bond as Patsy

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur and Richard Bond as Patsy

The set: village scenes, castle etc were effectively created of high quality and cleverly designed.  There was minimal disruption during the scene changes.  Great and convincing use of props, especially the wooden bunny. 

The costumes were excellent: bright, bold and larger than life with great attention to detail and were in keeping with the characters and story.

The lighting was very effective. The sound was excellent with voices clear and blended well with the live music.  All the songs were sung enthusiastically. Lady of the Lake, Kirsty Kingham was simply stunning as she belted out her numbers including (one of my favourites) “The Diva’s Lament” and “The Song That Goes Like This” (with David Izzo, Sir Galahad).

The Song That Goes Like This with David Izzo and Kirsty Kingham

The Song That Goes Like This with David Izzo and Kirsty Kingham

Ed Branch as the French Taunter

Ed Branch as the French Taunter

Director, Gary J Myers, demonstrated his talent as he drew great performances from this large and versatile cast.  The music, led by Neil Streeter, created a solid sound giving the performers superb lead.  The show worked well due to the chemistry and strong performances not least by Colin Flaherty (as King Arthur) and his Knights of the Round Table. Richard Bond as Patsy (King Arthur’s side-kick) provided great support complete with horse clopping sound effects from a pair of coconut halves. There was lots of spectacle and hilarity from the French Taunters (Ed Branch on top form) to the routines and songs taking the mickey out of other musicals (I spotted quite a few including 42nd Street and Chicago). The principals had a terrific ensemble around them.  I enjoyed the variety and changes of style and atmosphere. The comedy was fast paced and very off the wall but clever and everyone had a chance to shine. BATS audiences expect high production values and they were not disappointed. Congratulations to the production team, led by Colin Webb, whose hard work, in this instance, led to a polished show that was full of memorable and hilarious moments.

Chris Horton

Come and Join Us for Footloose!

BATS' next show will be Footloose. Come and join us for this exciting Rock 'n' Roll musical, filled with great songs and lots of dancing.

Based on the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose features classic hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Let's Hear It For The Boy, Almost Paradise and the unforgettable title track, Footloose.

BATS are staging Footloose in November

BATS are staging Footloose in November

The pre-audition workshops start this week and these are your chance to come along and meet us, find out about the show, the music, the roles available and other important information such as rehearsal dates.

A link to the audition materials, including male and female audition pieces, can be found here on our Google Drive.

You will to be a member of BATS in order to audition. See our Join BATS page for more information.

Pre-audition workshops will be held on 31st May, 5th, 7th and 12th June at 19.30 at Christ Church, Reading Road, Chineham, RG24 8LT.

Auditions are on 13th and 14th June from 19.00 at Market Chambers Performers Together, Church Street, Basingstoke, RG21 7QE.

We look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday. Come along and bring your dancing shoes!

Spamalot Review, May 2017 - The Southern Daily Echo

Director and choreographer Gary J Myers immaculate version of the musical-pythonesque Spamalot would not look out of place on the West End professional stage.

With an energetic and vibrant ensemble and perfect casting in both cameo and principal roles, this show was so full of detail in dialogue humour, costume, lighting, sound and scenery that "faultless" would almost be too bland a description to encompass all that could be said.

Richard Bond as Patsy

Richard Bond as Patsy

There were standout performances throughout, but special mention must be given to Colin Flaherty as Arthur, Richard Bond as Patsy, David Izzo as Sir Galahad and the diva to out diva all others, Kirsty Kingham as Lady of the Lake.

Neil Streeter conducted a note perfect band full of pizzazz and cast interaction. Highly recommended to Python and musical theatre lovers everywhere.

David Putley

David Izzo as Sir Galahad and Kirsty Kingham as Lady of the Lake

David Izzo as Sir Galahad and Kirsty Kingham as Lady of the Lake

Spamalot Review, May 2017 - Basingstoke Gazette

The perfect escape for the world-weary currently awaits local audiences in The Haymarket. BATS have staged the Monty Python musical Spamalot – the first local production of this smash-hit show - and their sublime slice of silliness is a genuinely laugh-out-loud treat.

First time director / choreographer Gary J Myers has bitten off a lot, but it’s certainly not more than he can chew. In fact, what he has served up is quite wonderful! He’s ably assisted by Neil Streeter as musical director.

Spamalot is the tale of King Arthur (a suitably regal Colin Flaherty) and his band of knights, and their quest to find the Grail / stage a musical in Basingstoke.

Along the way they encounter surly peasants, the French, the Knights of Ni, the irrepressible Black Knight, flying cows and the rest.

The show is a huge challenge for all departments – sound, props, wardrobe and lighting – but the society has multi-tasked to the max to achieve something quite special. 

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur (Centre), Richard Bond as Patsy (Centre Left) and some Knights

Colin Flaherty as King Arthur (Centre), Richard Bond as Patsy (Centre Left) and some Knights

BATS’ talented actors also showcase their adaptability by demonstrating serious comedic ability and timing. Some of their stalwart performers (Ian Moseley, David Izzo) are a revelation and supporting players also do wonderful work in smaller parts: Ed Branch (French taunter), Tracey Gonzato (head minstrel), Stuart Baker (Dead Fred) and Grant Foyle (Kevin) are all fantastic. 

Izzo, Nick Brannam and Pete Chandler are hysterically funny throughout the plotline about Prince Herbert whilst a brilliant Kirsty Kingham demonstrates divine comic delivery – and boasts terrific vocals - as the Lady of the Lake, hilariously snarling “Whatever happened to my part” during The Diva’s Lament.

Nick Brannam (Left) as Prince Herbert and Pete Chandler (Right) as Lancelot

Nick Brannam (Left) as Prince Herbert and Pete Chandler (Right) as Lancelot

Well done to the rest of the company, too, who whizz on and off in various outfits constantly, singing, dancing, nailing punchlines and doing whatever else the show demands.  

It goes without saying that Python fans will be in heaven but there’s lots of general fun to enjoy, including references to other famous musicals.  Other standout musical numbers include the Knights of the Round Table, You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz and His Name is Lancelot. 

Only the hardest heart could resist joining in with the final sing-along to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, so partake of Spamalot’s cheeky joy while you can. You’ll feel much better afterwards!

Joanne Mace

Colin Flaherty talks to us about his role of King Arthur in our latest production of 'Spamalot, the Musical'.

“He’s an absolute buffoon – just like I am really!” laughs Colin Flaherty, who plays the hapless King Arthur in the musical Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Haymarket in Basingstoke this May. 

“I’ve never seen the show on stage, but I researched it on YouTube and just fell in love with the nonsense of it all!  You’ve got a killer rabbit, grown men galloping along on pretend horses, and of course the Black Knight who has his arms and legs chopped off before singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’!”

Colin is very familiar with Britain’s favourite comedy song in his real-life role as a funeral celebrant. “A surprising number of people choose it to be played at their funeral – it sort of embodies the British spirit doesn’t it?”  

What would you say to people who feel Monty Python isn’t for them? 

“Well if you like musicals you’ll love Spamalot, because it spoofs a whole range of other shows – and to be honest from the first scene you just embrace the silliness of it and enjoy each surprise as it comes along!” 

“It does remind me of being in a panto – an adult panto that is - but the trick is to play the part absolutely straight – which makes the ridiculous situations even funnier!”

Colin has been also taking sword fighting lessons and looks forward to impressing the audience with his physical prowess. “Yes it is quite a physical part for me, I’m delighted to be doing it!”

He’s full of praise for his fellow performers too. “The singing is fantastic! Everyone suits their parts so well too.  I can promise you’ll have a fantastic night at the theatre!”

Monty Python’s Spamalot runs at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Tuesday 16-Saturday 20 May. Performances at 7.30pm plus a 2.30pm show on the Saturday.

Tickets at: www.anvilarts.org.uk or 01256 844244

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