‘Spamalot’ Takes Audiences on a Hilarious Quest to Find the Holy Grail

By Jessica Neu

The Strand Theater in Zelienople presents Monty Python’s Spamalot – the Especially Silly Revival June 23 – July 2, 2023. This 2005 musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical and had two successful runs in the West End. Written by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez and Idle, Spamalot is based on the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The film and subsequent musical are a British retelling of the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. 

Before the show begins at the quaint and comfortable Strand Theater, staff encourage you to turn off your cell phones to become immersed in the show for the next several hours. I strongly encourage all audience members to embrace that suggestion and allow themselves to enter this hilarious, satirical world that is Spamalot. 

Director Nick Navari creates a world in Spamalot that feels like you got stuck in a delightfully adult version of the Disney ride, “It’s a Small World.” Even if you are unfamiliar with the Monty Python franchise, you cannot help but fall in love with the characters, songs, and unique British humor.

 As the show begins, we receive a brief overview of the history of England, but then in the first of many uproarious moments, the company enters and sings a song about Finland (“Fisch Schlapping Song”) instead of England. This glorious song and dance number set the tone for the outrageous comedy packed in the rest of the show. 

Songs such as “He Is Not Dead Yet,” performed by Not Dead Fred (Josh Ziegler), Lancelot (Gabe DeRose), Robin (Michael Goffus), & Company, and “The Song that Goes Like This” challenge your suspension of disbelief in the best way possible to take you on a savvy, satirical ride. 

A quartet of girls known as the “Laker Girls” are part showgirls, part backup dancers, and fantastic singers who add pizzazz to almost every number. They even bring out a cardboard cutout of King Arthur’s head to help motivate the Knights on their quest during the song “Find Your Grail.”

With the exception of Michael L. Marra‘s role as King Arthur and Anna Stewart as the Lady of the Lake the rest of the cast members do a spectacular job of playing multiple roles throughout the show. 

Together, the company forms the classic Knights of the Round Table. God (Ron Carter) tasks the Knights with finding the Holy Grail used at the Last Supper. The Knights then set out on imaginary horses to fulfill God’s orders. For those familiar with Monty Python, the coconut galloping is superb, and so is the character acting from the entire company. The search for the grail is literal and metaphorical as the grail does exist, but it is also a sentiment within us all. Cleverly challenging the logic of religion and mocking French and English culture, this quirky British humor is both refreshing and thought-provoking.

Spamalot has it all. Intricate set design (Chuck Ziegler), gorgeous costumes (Missy Nowakowski), and ruckus choreography, including the coffee grinder, the worm, and the running man (Victoria Strnisa). It truly appears that the actors and their characters are best friends who are having the time of their lives on stage. Their joy was contagious, and it is simply impossible not to smile during this performance.

 The principal cast from the original Strand production returns for this especially silly revival.


The Strand Theater in Zelienople presents Monty Python’s Spamalot June 23 – July 2, 2023. For tickets, visit http://thestrandtheater.org/event/monty-pythons-spamalot

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