by Beki Pineda

SPAMALOT – Book and Lyrics by Eric Idle; Music by John du Prez and Eric Idle; Directed by Bernie Cardell and Heather Frost. Produced by Vintage Theatre (1468 Dayton, Aurora) through December 11. Tickets available at 303-856-7830 or vintagetheatre.org.

Alright, I have to admit that because I was laughing so hard and enjoying watching this show so much, I forgot to take notes. But it’s not hard to remember what I was laughing and enjoying. Let’s start with the whole raft of new people making Vintage debuts. Eight out of the nineteen cast members are first-timers. This says something about how popular Vintage is becoming as a place to perform. The sold-out houses speak to the fact that Vintage is also becoming a favorite place to go see a good show and enjoy a good drink before or after the show. It thirdly addresses the wonderful pool of new acting talent that arrives in Denver every day. Nearly every program at every theatre lists more and more really gifted people making their Denver debuts.   I think it’s safe to say Denver is making a splash in the national theatre scene; actors come to build their resume and end up staying.

Additionally, in this talented cast there are returning performers behaving in unexpected ways. For instance, I’m used to seeing Matt LaFontaine (who performs AND choreographed ) or Michael Martinkus sing and dance beautifully, but Andrew Uhlenhopp?? He’s that “serious” actor who does stuff like FRANKIE AND JOHNNY and A FEW GOOD MEN and stuff like that when he’s not being fantastically funny like earlier this season at Vintage’s outrageous THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. Who knew he could sing and dance and act so silly so well?

But honestly, he’s in good company because everyone was going out of their way to act silly. With lines like “I fart in your general direction,” how could you help not acting silly. Monty Python fans will recognize the situations depicted, but you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy the humor. The impudent French Taunter, the flying cow, the Knight who calls an amputation “a mere scratch,” the Lady in the Lake with her Laker Girls – they are all there. If you are not familiar with the movie this production is based on, you are in for some delightful surprises.

All of this comic chaos is mixed with songs that mock Broadway musicals (“The Song That Goes Like This,” “Whatever Happened to My Part,” and “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway [without Jews]”) and memorable anthems like “All for One,” “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” and “The Grail.” The simplicity of the melodies and words make the music extremely hummable. My personal favorite was oblivious King Arthur (a gorgeous Markus Warren) singing “I’m All Alone” with his faithful lackey Patsy (Cole Henson) standing right behind him – where he’s always been. Each of the loyal knights has a song or a moment in the spotlight and they each make the most of it. As a cast, they perform well as an ensemble and individually as talented players.

It’s a miracle how Vintage manages to pull off GIANT shows in their small space. Remember MIS SIAGON and SUNSET BOULEVARD? This set, designed by Robert Janacek, gave a center space large enough to accommodate a goodly sized dancing ensemble while surrounding castle walls became the various places along the quest for the Grail. The costumes, which in some cases were also required to function as special effects, were created by Cheryl Faulkner.

You will be hard pressed to find an available ticket for this show as all remaining performances are sold out. The theatre recommends showing up on the night you’d like to see the show and they will fill in possible empty seats with people who are waiting. It’s iffy – but the show is worth the wait.

A WOW factor of 9!!

 

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