Friday, May 25, 2018
Stage

Catch the laughs in Richey Suncoast's 'Spamalot'

Please don't go see Spamalot at Richey Suncoast Theatre unless you're ready to laugh 'til your sides hurt, roll your eyes at the outrageous non sequiturs and jokes, hear some crude language, watch some rude antics and see some of the best performances of the season.

It's Monty Python, for cryin' out loud — you gotta expect anything, and director Marie Skelton's truly wonderful cast and crew give it to you for two laugh-out-loud hours.

Spamalot is ostensibly a spoof of the musical drama Camelot, but this being Monty Python of Flying Circus fame, it's goofy, weird, anachronistic (were there twinkle lights and television in the year 932 A.D.?), with lightning-fast wordplay, insider theater references (someone mutters a well-known line from Stephen Sondheim's Company — "and another hundred people get off of the train" at just the right moment) and no one waits for the audience to get it, simply plunging on to the next outrageous comment and shenanigan. What fun, what fun.

Of course, none of this would work (and this production does work) without good musicians and a sharp crew. But it's this cast, this marvelous cast that makes Spamalot sing, starting with Jesslyn Kostopoulos doing Lady of the Lake as a cross between Carol Burnett and the late, great Madeline Kahn, complete with Burnett's outrageous physical humor and Kahn's vocal gymnastics.

The other members of the ensemble are the cream of the region's theater crop — Bob Marcela as the earnest but odd King Arthur; George Brazier as Arthur's faithful but eccentric sidekick Patsy; Patrick Gonzalez as the handsome but, um, surprising Lancelot; David Bethards as the civil rights defender, knight Dennis Galahad; Willem Nichols as Galahad's mother (yes, men as women; in fact, all the players do multiple roles), God, and a minstrel; Anthony Cromartie as the knight Bedevere and also Concorde, squire to the queasy knight, Robin, played to near perfection by a baby-faced Patrick Moran; Carl Brown as the French Mime, a guard, and Sir Not Appearing; and Rich Aront as the sputtering father of the sexually questioning Prince Herbert, played by an adorable Brian Moran.

The nine-member female chorus/dancers are icing on the cake, as skimpily-dressed Laker Girls, various foreign countries, Las Vegas-style chorines, and belles of the old South ball.

The score is a big spoof of Broadway itself, poking fun at stock musical songs in The Song That Goes Like This and Twice in Every Show; at actors in Whatever Happened to My Part?; and stock characters in You Won't Succeed On Broadway; and even big production numbers in His Name Is Lancelot and Act II Finale. The show does have some raunchy dialogue and crass stage business, and those with tender sensibilities may be offended a bit. Still, it all goes by so quickly, you may miss it. Try not to, though, as those silly bits are some of the best in the show.

Comments
Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

Ballet Nacional de Cuba stuns with a spectacular ‘Giselle’

TAMPA — The Ballet Nacional de Cuba performed Giselle, its signature ballet, on Wednesday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Fifty-four dancers charmed a packed house, culminating in about two hours an effort that took more tha...
Published: 05/24/18
Well, it’s different: Porn stars are doing stand up comedy this weekend in St. Pete

Well, it’s different: Porn stars are doing stand up comedy this weekend in St. Pete

IF YOU SAY SO: PORN STARS ARE COMEDIANSWell, it’s different. Porn Stars Are Comedians extends the concept of the podcast Porn Stars Are People ("the only podcast with porn stars where we don’t discuss porn or the business of porn"), hosted by Dan Fri...
Published: 05/23/18
Waiting for ‘Godot’ to end: Half-okay performances mar an already irritating classic at Hat Trick

Waiting for ‘Godot’ to end: Half-okay performances mar an already irritating classic at Hat Trick

CLEARWATER — Hat Trick Theatre, the resident company of Ruth Eckerd Hall, closes out its season with Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. I must say it’s a stark choice, mainly because I can’t get two sentences into this without using the word "stark....
Published: 05/23/18
Despite hurdles, Ballet Nacional de Cuba returns to Tampa after 15 years

Despite hurdles, Ballet Nacional de Cuba returns to Tampa after 15 years

For decades, the reputation of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba has never dropped below excellent. In a country that prides itself on art, the company represents the best of the best, with a colorful style all its own, a blend of Russian precision and an ...
Published: 05/23/18

Local production of "Ain’t Retirement Grand!" promises lots of laughs

HUDSON — What to do in the golden years? Early bird specials, doctor’s appointments, figuring out who to leave what in your will? Or maybe just take some time out for a few laughs about the situation.A local production of Ain’t Retirement Grand! migh...
Published: 05/22/18
Florida Orchestra closes 50th masterworks season with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

Florida Orchestra closes 50th masterworks season with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony

TAMPA — The Florida Orchestra wraps up its final masterworks concert of the season with a masterfully complex Johannes Brahms piano concerto and Ludwig van Beethoven’s warmly accessible Symphony No. 6, commonly known as the "Pastoral."Friday’s sold-o...
Published: 05/19/18
Florida Orchestra to offer violin lessons for at-risk Tampa youth

Florida Orchestra to offer violin lessons for at-risk Tampa youth

TAMPA — The Florida Orchestra will begin tutoring at-risk children free of charge, thanks to a Hillsborough County grant.The $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. pays for six weeks of violin instruction at select recreatio...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Orchestra performs last masterworks of the season, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6

Orchestra performs last masterworks of the season, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6

GRAND MASTERS: BEETHOVEN AND BRAHMSIt’s last call for the Florida Orchestra’s masterworks season. And why not close out the 50th season with two passionate cannon blasts, Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, better known as th...
Published: 05/16/18
Review: ‘Addams Family’ cast, choreography, costumes worth seeing at Richey Suncoast

Review: ‘Addams Family’ cast, choreography, costumes worth seeing at Richey Suncoast

NEW PORT RICHEY — DO. NOT. MISS. THIS. SHOW.I’m talking about The Addams Family, the musical comedy based on the Charles Addams’ New Yorker cartoons, several television series and two feature films, but with updated cultural references for current au...
Published: 05/14/18
Updated: 05/15/18

Review: ‘Calendar Girls’ stage show needs a touch-up

Oh, how I wish this could be a glowing review of the dramedy Calendar Girls, playing weekends through May 20 at Stage West Community Playhouse.The show about longtime friends semi-baring their bosoms to make a calendar to raise money to buy a sofa fo...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/14/18