BRUNSWICK — Brunswick is an epicenter of knight life as “Spamalot” takes the boards as the final offering of Maine State Music Theatre’s 2010 season. This Tony Award- winning show is an incredibly funny spoof of the legends associated with King Arthur.

MSMT Artistic Director Charles Abbott, who retires from the company after this run, plays one of the key roles.

Between 2005 and 2009, one of the hottest tickets on Broadway was “Spamalot,” a wildly funny and tuneful musical comedy based on the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” When “Spamalot” closed on Broadway, regional performing rights were eagerly sought by professional theater companies around the United States.

As one of only five successful bidders, Maine State Music Theatre opened the Maine premiere of “Spamalot” Aug. 1 to a sold-out house. It’s a sensationally good show and I expect it will sell out for the remainder of its run.

With a libretto by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez and Idle, “Spamalot” was nominated for 14 Tony Awards, winning three, including Best Musical.

It’s solidly based on the legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the search for the Holy Grail, but Idle’s send-up of the oft-told story and his uncanny ability to find hilariously comic twists in familiar characters is an amazing piece of writing.

The arc of the story follows King Arthur (Nat Chandler) from the early years of his reign to his successful recovery of the Grail. The story is introduced by a Historian (Chuck Ragsdale). Accompanying Arthur’s quest are Patsy (Charles Abbott), his long-suffering sidekick, and three very errant knights: cowardly Sir Robin (Jeremy Webb), Sir Lancelot (Adam Pelty) and Sir Galahad (Curt Dale Clarke); the latter pair are delightfully full of themselves and full of laughs for the audience.

Lady of the Lake (Daniella Dalli) is the leading female in the cast. This lovely woman’s several incarnations include a wonderful send-up of Cher. Following Monty Python practice, several of these actors also get to demonstrate their talents in secondary and tertiary roles, such as Prince Herbert, French Taunter, Knight of Ni, Black Knight and Tim the Enchanter.

Several of the songs are very melodious, including “The Song That Goes Like This,” a send-up of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s style of composition. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is perhaps the best-known song, delivered impeccably by Abbott.

This is a vast, sprawling show, and stage director Marc Robbins deftly keeps the cast on track, ably supported by music director Ed Reichert.

Maine State Music Theatre will present “Spamalot” at Pickard Theater on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick at various times and dates through Aug. 28. Call 725-8769 or visit www.msmt.org.


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