There aren’t many meat (or in this case meat ‘product’ related musicals) are there eh? Errr...Okla-ham-a? Seven Pies for Seven Brothers? The Rocky Horror Pork-ture Show? Nope, Spamalot’s the only genuine article and in the 10 years since it was first staged it’s gone on to become a firm favourite here and...perhaps somewhat bizarrely given how ‘British’ the humour is...abroad. Just in case you’ve been hiding under a pile of dead parrots for the last decade it's "lovingly ripped off from" the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie as well as borrowing from other Python sketches and films too giving its writer, Mr Eric Idle, the chance to shoehorn in the comedy troupe’s biggest ‘hit’ Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (complete with rousing end of show sing-a-long). There’s a plot of sorts but that’s never really been the point of Python has it? Suffice to say it provides plenty of opportunities for an awful lot of silliness, which is no bad thing on a freezing cold February night in Brum.
Over the years numerous celebrities have played King Arthur, this time the Kingly shoes are filled by the helium voiced ‘King of the Jungle’ Joe Pasquale, possibly one of the more Marmite performers (I’m guessing you either love him or...) to have played the role. He’s pretty much perfect for the part though and it has to be one of the few occasions where that distinctive voice of his enhances every word. Being a stand up he’s not afraid to go a little off piste now and again either, resulting in several of this evening’s best moments and reducing fellow cast members to trembling wrecks. 40somethings will love seeing Todd Carty, forever Tucker Jenkins from Grange Hill, again (okay so he was in EastEnders for a while but Mark Fowler wasn’t a patch on Tucker was he eh?) as the gloriously gormless Patsy and Sarah Earnshaw flipped brilliantly from seductress to OTT diva as The Lady Of The Lake.
There are a few local tweaks to appeal to the Brummie crowd and they’ve updated some of the references in one or two of the songs but other than that it’s silliness as usual with hilarious farting Frenchmen, Knights who say “Ni”!, killer rabbits and even a guest appearance from ‘God’ (Eric Idle on a giant screen...I guess he’s probably at home enjoying a Spam fritter or two whilst he counts the royalties). A ‘spam’ good night out all round.