Saturday, September 25, 2010

Musical Review: The Palace Begins With Spamalot

The beautifully restored Palace Theater is one of the gems of the “Brass City” of Waterbury. The Palace Theater kicked off their 2010-2011 season of shows Friday night with the Tony-Award winning musical Spamalot. Based on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie, Spamalot brings to life the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table with song and dance.

The comedy troupe Monty Python were never one to shy away from cheap jokes, and this musical is plastered with them. Based in the Middle Ages, Spamalot brings in some of the comedy sketches from the Monty Python television show to introduce you to their brand of humor. Mistaking Finland for England and turning Camelot into a 19th century Las Vegas are only a couple of the little tricks that the writers used to liven up the story of King Arthur. But, the songs are very clever in showing off the strengths of the performers.

The bright spots in act one were John Garry’s brief performance as Not Dead Fred as he put a light touch to the subject of the plague. King Arthur, played by Steve McCoy, held the production together with his wit and wisdom, performing as if he was the one everyone came to see. But, the voice and presence of the Lady of the Lake, performed by Caroline Bowman, stole the show. Her voice was strong as she demanded the spotlight whenever she took the stage.

Monty Python’s most famous song “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” began act two. But Martin Glyer’s Sir Robin performance led the way with his song and dance in “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway.” The return of McCoy’s King Arthur and Bowman’s Lady of the Lake in the finale brought the audience to their feet for a well deserved standing ovation.

Even though, the audience did not seem all too familiar with the Holy Grail movie, the puns and jokes worked in the light-hearted atmosphere. The Spamalot tour will continue until April 2011. Even if you’re not a fan of Monty Python, the performances alone are worth a viewing. Upcoming shows at The Palace Theater feature musical acts Tower of Power and The Black Crowes in October, comedians Wanda Sykes and Brian Regan in November, and holiday shows by Cirque Dreams and The Manhattan Transfer, as well as Cyndi Lauper in December. For a full list of events and ticket information, please visit

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