18th October 2018
Author: BEN HUXLEY – FOR LYN EMMERSON
Llandudno Musical Productions, formally Llandudno Musical Players, and Llandudno Operatic Society before that, have been entertaining the local area since 1910 – their first production being Trial by Jury. It seems fitting that such an experienced and established company should put on Monty Python’s Spamalot – double-fitting what with Python Terry Jones being a Colwyn Bay boy himself.
Theatr Colwyn was absolutely packed on Thursday 17th October, which certainly added to the joyous atmosphere. Before the curtain (which had a medieval gate ingeniously projected onto it) went up, a typical historian appeared on stage; tweed jacket, pipe, and an outrageously sized moustache. Our historian informed us that we were about to hear the tale of Arthur, king of the Britons, and his quest to find the Holy Grail. The story is, to quote the poster, “lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. After the gate, and the curtain, had gone up, we were treated to a truly Pythonesque, surreal and hilarious musical experience – put together deftly, and acted and sung with gusto by competent performers.
The set was very impressive, especially with the scene changes occurring so rapidly, and the multitude of locations within the story. It ranged from a castle, to a lake to a forest, and back again to a fort. It must have taken a long time to construct, and backstage crew would’ve had to be constantly on their toes for the quick changes. And speaking of quick changes, the costumes are worth a mention too. Along with the set, they made this magical experience even more visually spectacular. From peasants in rags to swamp ladies, and, of course, knights in shining armour – everybody looked the part. One costume in particular that stood out was the black knight, who had the gruelling task – as anyone who’s seen the film will know – of losing all his limbs. This was done hilariously.
The dance routines were very well choreographed too (by Ellie Montanaro), and the dancers shone in their moments. There were a few occasionally out of synch, but this didn’t hamper the experience in the slightest.
There wasn’t a weak link in the main cast, as everyone was utterly hilarious, and delivered their lines with brilliant comic timing. I did wonder about the necessity of microphones in such a small theatre, but again, they didn’t get in the way too much. Malcolm Anglesea was fantastically cast as a befuddled King Arthur, who did a good job in making the role his own, rather than merely imitating Graham Chapman. Rebecca Ceballos dominated the stage as the Lady of the Lake (not to mention as the diva who complained about her part getting shorter, in a hilarious number in the second act). David Crawford, Sam Highcock, Jamie Toffrey, Benjamin Payne and Landon Sweeney all deserve a mention as the eclectic, odd and eccentric knights of the round table.