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

Spamalot Cast Interview with Kirsty Kingham, Playing The Lady of the Lake.

"She's a complete Diva - and I'm absolutely loving it!"

Kirsty Kingham’s infectious giggle is never far away when talking about her role as The Lady of the Lake in the musical Monty Python’s Spamalot.

“She’s the main female part and being surrounded by all that testosterone makes me really happy! Hahaha!” 

To say Kirsty is relishing the role would be a massive understatement.  It’s been on her bucket list for years – and follows her recent performances as Tracy in Hairspray and Elsa in The Sound of Music.

The Lady of the Lake sends King Arthur on his quest to find the Grail, and pops up throughout the show in a variety of guises.  

“It’s hugely vocally challenging – and because the show sends up lots of different musicals, I get to sing a lot of different styles.  There’s jazz, pop ballads, soul, opera and even scatting – that’s probably the biggest test for me!” 

So how would Kirsty describe Monty Python’s Spamalot?

“Well I must admit I didn’t know what Monty Python was!  I didn’t know about the TV show or films.  So I’m just judging from what’s in the script and what we’re doing in rehearsals, and I have to say it’s absolutely hilarious!  It’s mad, silly, immature and pant-wettingly funny – you can’t quite believe what’s coming next!  You’re certainly guaranteed a good laugh at the theatre that night!”

So a welcome distraction from her offstage roles as mum and full-time primary school teacher?  “Yes!  Life is just so busy at the moment, but it’s great to sweep into rehearsal and unleash this fabulous prima donna!”

“It’s also wonderful to see what the rest of the cast are creating – the quality of the singing is amazing.  And did I mention it’s just really, really funny?!”

Yes, you did Kirsty!   

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

Spamalot Director and Choreographer Gary J. Myers chats about Rehearsals

“You won’t believe what we do with our coconuts!” laughs Gary J. Myers.

Indeed, that’s one of many surprises awaiting the audience at Monty Python’s Spamalot, directed by Gary, coming to the Haymarket in Basingstoke from 16-20 May.

 Director and choreographer Gary J. Myers

Director and choreographer Gary J. Myers

Gary’s been part of the theatre scene in Basingstoke for three decades, as a performer with local groups BATS and BAOS, and more recently a constant presence in the rehearsal room as Assistant Director on shows such as Sister Act, Grease and The Full Monty. He trained professionally at Guildford School of Acting, and has appeared in shows in the West End and on tour.

So Gary brings a wealth of experience to Spamalot – the first show he’s directed and choreographed for BATS.

“I just love the songs and the comedy, there’s so much for the company to get their teeth into,” enthuses Gary.  “It’s not just a celebration of Monty Python, it also sends up a whole host of musicals in a really fun, affectionate way.”

“I pitched Spamalot to BATS as a show with something for everyone. In the original Broadway production, one actor would play several roles, but I’ve had the luxury of sharing out the parts among a wider pool of people.  And I’ve been encouraging everyone to throw in their own ideas to make the show even funnier.  There’s been a lot of laughter in the rehearsal room!”

This inventiveness also stretches to the special costumes and props being made, which are keeping the team behind the scenes very busy.  There aren’t many musicals which feature killer rabbits, catapulting cows, fake heads, and a knight who loses his arms and legs but still manages to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.

“Everyone is working very hard,” says Gary. “I’ve been quite specific about what I want, and I’m really grateful that Jude on costumes, and Marie, Jo, Mike and Colin on props are prepared to meet the challenge!  I also appreciate Debbie Hemmings and Nick Brannam’s help with creating the choreography.”

 Gary and the Laker Girls having fun at Spamalot rehearsals and photo shoot

Gary and the Laker Girls having fun at Spamalot rehearsals and photo shoot

You’ll see their work in the fantastic song and dance routines that parody everything from Phantom of the Opera to a Las Vegas floor show – all adding up to a show that indeed has “something for everyone.”

And you won’t believe what they do with their coconuts!

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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