DRYBURN THEATRICAL WORKSHOP
Monty Python is like Marmite you either loathe it or love it, I am one of those fans who love it from its conception and whilst growing up learnt to appreciate this surreal comedy group and like many other fans were glued to their television screens to watched the television episodes and films and were equally as pleased when the musical “Spamalot” an adaptation of the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail opened on Broadway in 2005. I have been lucky to have seen the UK touring company of the Monty Python’s Spamalot several times over the years and was pleased to be invited to see Dryburn Theatrical Workshop interpretation of this iconic musical.
Spamalot is not an easy musical to perform with its fast dialogue, complicated lyrics, beautiful dancing girls, flatulent Frenchmen and a killer rabbit but it was obvious from opening that Dryburn Theatrical Workshop under the direction of Michelle Coulson embraced her direction and brought out all of the Python absurdity and delivered a very professional production full of fun and laughter and the whole cast did not waver throughout the whole production executing every line and movement with flawless characterisation and purpose. Music was in the capable hands of John Hudson and I liked the idea of the band been discreetly placed behind the set raised on a platform this enabled us to hear every song delivered with precision and clarity. Choreography was creatively delivered by Helen Wilson there was some good routines and I was impressed by the constant commitment to the animated delivery of the knights riding their imaginary horses especially the mounting and dismounting excellent comedy delivered at its best. Sound was excellent, as was the lighting plot which was very good and certainly created the atmosphere. The costumes from Alan Graham were both colourful and looked fantastic as was the set provided by Border Studios.
The show opens with the Historian played by Bill Taylor setting the scene and narrating the audience throughout the show recounting scenes and commenting on characters with a touch of Pythonian sarcasm, he also played the role of the French Taunter. The pivotal role of King Arthur was superbly played by Adam Donald; Adam delivered an excellent performance great characterisation and comic timing his character never left the stage, he had excellent vocals and delivered his numerous musical numbers well, I particularly enjoyed “King Arthur’s song” and the iconic Python musical number with Patsy and the knights “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”, very entertaining. Gary Eglinton excelled as Patsy, King Arthur’s sidekick, excellent characterisation and stage presence, I loved how he supplied the horse clopping sound effects with a pair of coconuts halves and how throughout the show he looked magnificently crestfallen especially when King Arthur delivers his pastiche haunting solo balled “I’m All Alone” obviously to Patsy’s heavily laden presence, the chemistry between these two actors were excellent and they provided some great moments of comedy as well as humble friendship. As the leading lady Emma Scott delivered a confident performance as the Lady of the Lake excellent stage presence and clear diction, she had a great ability to act through song and her vocal performance of “Whatever Happened to My Part” and “The Song That Goes Like This” were highly entertaining and professionally delivered, I also enjoyed the duet with Arthur “Find Your Grail” a super voice that was well suited to the music. The line-up of knights recruited by Arthur on the quest to find the Holy Grail were equally as impressive, Sir Robin was played by Phil Martin, Phil has a natural acting ability and excellent stage presence his character was well portrayed and his Broadway musical number “”You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” was fantastic and one of the highlights of the show accompanied by the rest of the cast.
Sir Lancelot played by Lee Passmor delivered a great comedy performance, great timing and a confident performance, I particularly enjoyed the interaction between Lancelot and Herbert and I did enjoy the staging and choreography to the musical number “ His Name is Lancelot”. Joseph Coulson delivered a confident performance as Sir Galahad and the Black Knight, again another polished performance with strong vocals, he embraced his character and delivered both roles confidently, I particularly enjoyed the scene with the Black Knight great entertainment. Sir Bedevere was played by Libby Kennedy, Libby had good stage presence and vocals and delivered her character with panache. Good performance from Stephen Sheild as the forever singing Prince Herbert, the damsel in distress locked away by his evil father and in search of his Knight in shining armour, great characterisation fantastic energy delivered on stage and what a voice I loved the musical number “Where Are You” beautiful delivered. Herbert’s father was brutally played by Graham Gibson again good stage presence and acting. Kirsty May and Gary Blackbird played Herbert’s guards and Grayson Wood delivered a sterling performance as Sir Bors. Frances Wood delivered a good performance as the puppeteer as did Naomi Skelton as Concorde. Lawrence Clark was excellent as Mrs Gallahad and brother Maynard as was Annette Morris as Tim the Enchanter and Peter Johnson as the Mayor, Fred and the Knight of Ni which the audience loved.
Congratulation to the dancers, Claire Anatassiou, Hannah Cuthbertson, Sarah Hutchinson, Kirsty May, Rhiann Quinn, Rebecca Scott and Katharine Willett some brilliant choreography which added to the show. Special mention to the ensemble Pauline Blakeley, Tony Jones and Karen Scott there were some equally good performances from the youth ensemble including Nicole Blair-Foulds, Jessica Callaway, Alicia Cook, Zora Dubre and Kaitlyn Taylor and of course the voice of God, Eric Idle. Each and every one worked tirelessly to support the principals with every single member of the group focused to deliver a professional performance which was well received by the audience and it’s such a long time since I have heard an audience laugh as much and I am sure that on the night I attended I must have had the entire Monty Python fan club sitting beside me, this production was terrific and the cast and production team did an excellent job in providing a great evening’s entertainment. Well done to all.
Author: Peter Oliver
"An absolutely fab show. One of the best amateur production of the year."
"BRILLIANT. BRILLIANT. BRILLIANT. What a fantastic show, absolutely superb in every way. Band were fantastic, singers excellent, choreography superb, set wonderful, costumes stunning. What more can I say? Well done to you all with a big pat on the back to Michelle and John. Gary.......that part was made for you......first class. I hope I haven't missed anyone. Emma was brilliant also and Annette's song was great. What an entertaining night we've had. Loads of laughs."
"What a fantastic production -we were blown away when we saw the dress rehearsal last week. Not just by how brilliantly bonkers the show was but also how friendly everyone involved was too. It's been a real pleasure working on the production with them."
"Just got back from seeing this hilariously funny show, and just have to say you did it again !! brilliant !! my sides are sore from laughing from the minute it started right till the last second, what a show. Well done everyone you were all amazing, loved the clipity clopity horses lol !! bring on the next show, I will be there :)"
"We had a great time, one of the best shows you have put on for DTW. So funny. All the cast were just great."
"My husband and I were at tonight's performance and we loved it. Well done to all. Some fantastic performances and it was great! First time I have ever seen the hubby jump up to applaud a show. Fabulous Michelle Coulson and John Hudson. Excellent Dtw."
"Well done Dryburn Society! Spamalot was fantastic! So funny! Sam and I were crying with laughter!"
"Fanbloodytastic, well worth my standing ovation the whole cast were fab."
"A Massive well done to everyone at Dryburn Theatrical Company for an excellent show tonight, I laughed so much the people around me kept looking at me. The singing, dancing and comic timing were superb! !!!!! Well done again."
"We went on Thursday and it was brill! Funny, well executed and the set and costumes looked fab."
"Great production. First time we have been to see one of your events and loved it."
"Had an amazing time at Spamalot tonight, we loved it so much we're coming back on friday! Well done everyone."
"Had an amazing time so funny and everything was done to perfection."
"Well done everyone! Absolutely fantastic show and so so funny. I loved it. You should all be extremely proud"
"Massive congratulations to all at Dryburn Theatrical Workshop. Spamalot has been a fantastic show, and what a privilege to be a part of a magnificent 13 piece band. From where we were sitting it was obvious how much work had gone into this show. It was also obvious how much the audiences loved the performances. Well done to all, I hope to work with you all again soon."
"Wow another fantastic show was brill as per and so funny too well done guys"
"Fantastic show tonight.....huge congratulations to you all, a lot of hard work and some very memorable moments!!"
"Well done folks! Superb production - laughed my way through!"