October 31 – November 4
Touring – forever, probably
Ok, never a huge fan of Monty Python (except for the sublime ‘Spanish Inquisition’ sketch – bet you weren’t expecting that…), and to be honest, for some strange reason, thought I was going to see Life of Brian. Goodness knows why since this show has been doing the rounds for some time now.
But with typical nonchalance, they have nicked ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ so no wonder I ended up confused.
The setting is à la pantomime: forests; towers and the like although no sign of the Round Table, or many of the knights for that matter so King Arthur’s first quest is to round up the troops – all five of them. Plus his trusty servant, Patsy; shades of the irritating Baldrick are inevitable but Rhys Owen mostly rises above it to gain the audience’s sympathy.
His boss, the King (Bob Harms), really is very bossy, absurdly, pomopously regal, and mostly frustrated, especially when they finally set out on a quest for the Holy Grail and the knights promptly disappear. It’s the traditional picaresque journey with one damn thing after another, the most memorable scene being with the French knights. There’s something quite irresistible about the French accent when attempting to speak English. Hélas, never reciprocated; bad enough, poor efforts at French are mocked but apparently, fluency also meets with disapproval.
Anyway, in keeping with the origianl TV series, there is one token woman: Sarah Harlington, The Lady of the Lake, who morphs into Guinevere, just as you’re beginning to wonder. And magic indeed for she steals the show with her comic turn and fantastic voice.To a degree, this was matched by as Sir Robin but unfortunately, his big number was not altogether audible, though satirical: show business and success, maybe?
As in the histories, Galahad ( Norton James) rather outshines Lancelot (Johnathan Tweedie), aided and abetted by an amazing bouffant. Then the latter has a gay old time of it when rescuing Prince Herbert (Matthew Pennington), and there’s a scene they may not get away with for every much longer in the current climate – nor me for pointing it out. The last knight is Bedivere (Marc Akinfolarin), though I may have missed one out; they were largely much of a muchness.
Nonetheless, romping along, rather more speedily than King Arthur, and very, very silly, it’s an extremely jolly evening,