Unlike the 20-something I overheard on Pearl Street the other day exclaiming to her friends that she was “literally shitting bricks” as she awaited a call or text from some unnamed hottie she met at a recent party/rave/ bash/hoedown/Burning Man, I know the difference between “literally” and “figuratively.” For example, while my head figuratively explodes when I hear semi-literate mall rats misuse the English language, in my more than a decade of reviewing shows at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre I have literally never experienced a bad production.
I can’t think of any other theater company about which that is true for me, and it speaks volumes about the consistent quality of this Boulder institution. BDT has always made great choices about which shows to produce, which actors to employ and which dishes to serve (excepting the tragic removal of Bosco Sticks from the menu — bring them back!), but since Michael Duran took over as the producing artistic director, BDT has elevated its game on all levels. Its latest show, Monty Python’s Spamalot, is a prime example. Most dinner theatres wouldn’t even think to stage this Broadway behemoth, let alone actually attempt it, but like King Arthur and most of his knights, BDT is not afeard.
If you consider yourself a Python fan — Monty, that is, rather than Hulk Hogan’s 24-inchers — Spamalot should be calling to you like a fair maiden from a high castle tower. Even if you’re unaware of or indifferent to the legendary British comedy troupe, you’ll laugh your arse off at all the high and low comedy on display. As its extended moniker explains, Spamalot is “lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and while that is certainly true, it also incorporates some of the best Python bits, gags and songs from the Flying Circus television show and from other Monty Python films. It’s a veritable comedic cornucopia of Anglophilic fun.
If you’re craving a visit to a French castle manned by taunting guards, wish to witness the extent of damage a series of flesh wounds can do to a Black Knight, or hoping to see what happens when a killer bunny rabbit goes up against a holy hand grenade, Spamalot has you covered and then some. Director Piper Lindsay Arpan, who was part of the Broadway and national touring casts of Spamalot, also successfully incorporates some updated jokes, including a reference or two to the newly legal nature of Mary- Joe-Juan-a in the Centennial State.
Anchored by a handful of Boulder’s Dinner Theatre mainstays like Brian Norber, Wayne Kennedy, Scott Beyette, Brian Jackson and Alicia Dunfee, the cast of Spamalot is truly stellar. As Sir Dennis Galahad (I bet you never knew his first name was Dennis), Scott Severtson’s return to BDT is most welcome. His understated style meshes perfectly with the material. Bob Hoppe, who has acted in many BDT shows over the past few years, also steals the spotlight at times with his not-sobrave Sir Robin.
Following ably in the footsteps of such master thespians as Tim Curry and John O’Hurley, Wayne Kennedy brings his trademark comic timing to the role of King Arthur. Another of my BDT favorites, Brian Jackson, is dashing as Lancelot, sufficiently silly as one of the Knights of Ni and absolutely hilarious as the head of the French guards. Scott Beyette dials it back to just the right level and plays a mean coconut as King Arthur’s put-upon servant, Patsy. Seeing Brian Norber flouncing about in heavy-bosomed drag as Galahad’s mother is a treat in and of itself. I won’t spoil the identity of the actor who voices the part of God, but the fact that BDT got such a legendary talent to take part in this show is beyond remarkable.
There wasn’t an open seat in the house the night I attended Spamalot, and I’m guessing that trend will continue, so get your tickets quickly. This show is so much fun it will blow you away. Figuratively, of course.