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.