REVIEW: Spamalot, Sunderland Empire, Until May 23

Monty Python's Spamalot is at the Sunderland Empire.
Monty Python's Spamalot is at the Sunderland Empire.
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If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten – and that’s that Spamalot is sure to put a smile on your face.

I cried with laughter throughout the rib-tickling comedy musical.

Penned by South Shields-born Monty Python star Eric Idle, the show is said to be “lovingly ripped off” from the comedy troupe’s film, the Holy Grail.

It sees King Arthur (Joe Pasquale) named King of the Britons after being presented with mighty sword, Excalibur, by the Lady of the Lake (Sarah Earnshaw).

Aided by his loyal servant Patsy (Pasquale’s son Joe Tracini), Arthur recruits his Knights of the Round Table, and after being tasked by God, they set out to find the Holy Grail.

The show is laced with the signature silliness of Monty Python and no matter how many times I see it, it still makes me laugh hysterically.

I’ve seen the film countless times and this was my fourth time watching Spamalot in the theatre and I still chuckled uncontrollably.

The colourful set is designed very much in the style of Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python illustrations and it looks fantastic.

Father-and-son team Pasquale and Tracini worked together wonderfully – they’re a great comedy duo.

Pasquale did trip over his lines a couple of times, but he more than made up for it with his outrageous ad-libs that had everyone – including his fellow cast members – in fits of giggles.

The French Taunters

The French Taunters

Tracini’s daft facial expressions made him a wonderfully-dim Patsy and his performance of famous track Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life had everyone singing along.

Earnshaw was wonderfully eccentric as the Lady of the Lake and boy, could she belt out those songs. Her performances of Come With Me, Find Your Grail and The Diva’s Lament were spectacular.

The rest of the cast played multiple roles, with Knights regularly popping off stage unnoticed to come back as different characters including The Black Knight, a French Taunter, and the Knights of Ni.

The way the actors quickly swapped between the roles was mightily impressive.

The show is laced with the signature silliness of Monty Python and no matter how many times I see it, it still makes me laugh hysterically.

Songs like He Is Not Dead Yet, The Song That Goes Like This and You Won’t Succeed In Showbiz had people rolling in the aisles. The madcap lyrics coupled with the eccentric performances were side-splitting.

All the best moments from the film are there – including the coconut debate, the killer rabbit, and the duel with the Black Knight – only with added extras and the thrill of seeing them live.

And although it was pre-recorded, Eric Idle’s appearance as God was terribly exciting.

Spamalot is guaranteed to plaster a goofy grin right across your face.

Spamalot runs at the Sunderland Empire until Saturday, May 23. Click here to book tickets.

Twitter: @VickiNewmanJP

Joe Tracini is starring in Spamalot alongside his dad, Joe Pasquale, at the Sunderland Empire.

Joe Tracini is starring in Spamalot alongside his dad, Joe Pasquale, at the Sunderland Empire.