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Date

24th January 2018

Society

FAOS Musical Theatre Group

Venue

Farnham Maltings

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Sue Sampson

Musical Director

Steven Bean

Choreographer

Sue Sampson

Report

Author: Pauline Surrey

Here we have the legendary tale of King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail, complete with Knights Who Say Ni, horrible fathers, and killer rabbits, as one would expect!

There were some good Monty Python backdrops – we even had God, alias Eric Idle, on the screen. There were castle towers, rocks, and a couple of great set movers too!  Fish, cheerleaders’ swishy things, coconut shells, a giant rabbit, a small but vicious one, and last but not least a HUGE load of items for poor ‘packhorse’ Patsy to lug around, remain in my mind.

There really did seem to be a ‘no expenses spared’ array of costumes. The Lady of the Lake sported various gorgeous creations, each more spectacular than the last. But of course the absolute show stopper in the costume department was Sir Lancelot’s wonderfully skimpy golden shorts! Brought the house down!

Of course it is always good to have a good orchestra, and Steven Bean did a sterling job as Musical Director. The male chorus produced harmonies worthy of the best Welsh Male Voice Choir. They sang most beautifully, even when singing those silly lyrics! There were many wonderful dance numbers, with brilliant choreography, which were always fun and exciting, the chaps were as good as the ladies, and there was great use of the stage.

The fun that the cast will have had preparing this production must have been tremendous! Enthusiasm abounded, everyone embraced their part with great gusto. King Arthur (Nick Lang) was a suitably straight-backed, regal personage, and his manservant Patsy, weighed down by his hefty pack, was superbly played by Nigel Morley, with excellent timing.  He managed to carry off ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ with a freshness, despite the fact that everyone has heard it a million times, and his understated asides when Arthur was complaining about being alone in the number ‘I’m all alone’, were classic.

All the Knights were super, I particularly took to Sir Galahad (Kevin Sampson), I think due to the fetching way he had of throwing back his long blond locks! The knights’ horseriding style was most impressive!

The Lady of the Lake was brilliantly performed, with great star quality, superb style, great timing and of course stunning vocal skills, by Danni Taylor. Her number ‘Whatever Happened to my Part’ was a showstopper.

The humour of the piece is, of course, classic Monty Python, and I was charmed by the mickey-taking songs like: ‘The Song That Goes Like This’, ‘You Won’t Succeed on Broadway’ – although that one was rather shocking - , and the aforementioned ‘Whatever Happened to my Part’.

The interaction between the sweet Herbert (Brad Lawrence) and his macho Father (Mark Ashdown) was very well-played, strangely touching indeed, and of course the bombshell of Herbert and Sir Lancelot (Martin Sampson) falling for each other, (well, who wouldn’t fall for Lancelot in those golden shorts!), was a fine spectacle indeed, and one of the highlights of the show. Excellent performances, all three of them.

In short, a talented cast, and excellent direction (and choreography too, I believe) by Sue Sampson, produced a memorable evening of very silly fun!