Review: Spamalot, Sunderland Empire, until Saturday

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FORGET the irritating e-mails that pour into your inbox, this Spam is silly, mischievous and packed with laughs.

“Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this musical romp was penned by ex-Python Eric Idle and has all the hallmarks of the Python brand of humour.

Endearingly silly, Spamalot is based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, injected with a healthy dose of fun as King Arthur (Graham MacDuff, replacing Phill Jupitus last night) travels to Camelot with faithful companion Patsy (Todd Carty).

Absurdity is the true king as Arthur calls upon a band of loyal, brave and not-so-brave knights in his quest to find the Holy Grail and meets a host of crazed characters – including “watery tart” the Lady of the Lake (Jessica Martin).

Those who haven’t experienced the belly-aching laughs of seeing The Knights Who Say ‘Ni’, the ludicrously taunting Frenchmen, the deranged and homicidal Black Knight or the crazed Killer Rabbit are in for a feast for the eyes and ears.

And those of us who knew what was coming still laughed ourselves silly, as Idle has ensured all film scenes are quoted to what sounded like to the letter.

Throw in a bevy of beautiful showgirls, a projectile cow, Idle himself as the voice of God and of course an audience sing-a-long to Python classic, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life, and you’ve got a great show.

All-singing, all-dancing and with a preposterous plot which manages to parody every musical ever written, award-winning Spamlot hits all the right notes, and is sure to strike a chord with all but dead parrots.