Laughs all round as Act II do Python

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Spamalot by Act II

South Holland Centre, Spalding,

Friday, September 20

Every time I see a youth production in Spalding I am amazed and delighted at the talent on show, but Act II surpassed all previous performances with their delivery of this Monty Python classic.

There were no bum notes, no forgotten words and no moment where I was feeling nervous or sorry for one of the fledgling actors.

Indeed, this performance was so mature and professional I had to remind myself I was watching an amateur production, and a youth one at that.

Director Karl Gernert got the casting dead right, with each young actor making Python’s fanciful characters their own.

So funny was this send up of King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail, that my devoutly religious partner even forgave them having a good-humoured dig at God Himself.

Zac Harlock must have studied Python at length, because his portrayal of Arthur mirrored all Graham Chapman’s goofiness from the original film.

James Girard, Joe Dickinson and Abbie Shrimpton were superb as the three knights, Sir Bedevere, Sir Lancelot and Sir Robin, and Lauren Stanhope’s portrayal of Patsy was superb, especially her comic timing and facial expressions during Arthur’s singing of “I’m All Alone”

Kieran Watson was laugh-out-loud hilarious as the gay Prince Herbert, as was Lois Johnson-Smith as the leader of the ridiculous Knights who say Ni.

But stealing the show for me was Olivia Black, who was just perfect as the Lady of the Lake. She absolutely nailed the role with a comedic masterclass.

The audience also got a couple of chances to join in with “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”, and who can resist that?

And what’s great about Act II is their strength in depth and the way everyone gets a chance to shine. Indeed, Georgia Cantwell and Dominique Spinks, who were so superb in their recent performance of Bad Girls, have much lesser roles here but are still superb.

The standing ovation the whole cast received at the end was richly deserved. It was the Pythons who put together the original screenplay, and Eric Idle that was behind its move to a musical, but it is the young, talented cast of Act II who brought it to life with such vim and vigour on the stage of the South Holland Centre.

I must mention the orchestra too. Perfect timing to a man, and even time to enjoy the performance judging from the smiles and muffled laughter I observed!

We are blessed in Spalding to have such fantastic young actors. You won’t be just supporting them if you go along to the next production, you will be guaranteeing yourself a wonderful evening’s entertainment.

Jeremy Ransome