Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 6, 2015


Broad Brook Opera House, Broad Brook, CT
through May 17, 2015
by Shera Cohen

If you like “Camelot,” then “Spamalot” is a must see, and if you hate “Camelot,” then “Spamalot” is a must see. Based closely on the “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” politically incorrect movie spoof (1975), this musical version provides the same spirit, laughs, irreverence, characters, shrubbery, coconuts, and killer rabbit in telling a version of King Arthur; his knights; the Lady of the Lake; and ”one very, very, very large round table.”

Broad Brook pulls out all the stops and spares no expense in this blockbuster show, topping off their 2014/15 season and besting its own decade-long record. In the case of “Spamalot,” less is more. The talented Bill Martin and trio serve as a full orchestra, five young women kick up their heels as the chorus line, and ten extremely versatile actors portray 25 roles.

While Broad Brook’s theatre is large (how wonderful to see a near-full house), its stage is not. How to manipulate these many roles with several costume changes in lickity-split time along with numerous backdrops is, to say the least, a director’s nightmarish joy. Sharon FitzHenry faces this challenge with aplomb. She executes what easily could be theatrical chaos, especially with all actors on stage in ensemble pieces, into an assemblage of people and pieces (lights, sound, props) each with their own purpose, resulting in outrageously funny scene after scene.

FitzHenry has exceptional help in making “Spamalot” a rousing success from imaginative choreographer Melissa Dupont, and artistic costume designer Moonyean Field. This trio of talented women infuses every chorus number with gusto, color, and talent.

Oh…there’s more…the actors/singers. Gene Choquette plays a rather dimwitted Arthur, Luis Manzi schleps around as a loveable lackey, Paul DiProto nails an effeminate Sir EE, and Tim Reilly steals the show as a pompous Dennis (aka Sir Galahad). There are not many women in “Spamalot,” but again, less is more. Erica Romeo as Lady of the Lake commands every minute on stage with the humor of an erstwhile diva, the throaty jazzy physique of a femme fatal, and the strong voice of a Top 10 singer.

Note: Broad Brook seems to be the only theatre group that starts on time. Bravo.