Reviewed by Tammy & Anthony Wildblood
Today we were asked if we were interested in going to see the production of the Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Buxton Opera House which we gladly accepted as I remember watching some of the Monty Python series as a child with my parents, so I was intrigued to see what a stage production would turn out to be like, my wife on the other hand hasn’t seen any of the Monty Python series as it’s never interested her but thought she’d come along to the show. Knowing what the Monty Python series was like, I was hoping Spamalot would be full of laughter and have you in stitches, so I was looking forward to hopefully, what would be a great comedy.
We weren’t wrong!! Spamalot = Laughalot… Stitchalot… Cryalot. We didn’t stop laughing from the second the show started until it finished. This musical comedy, in my personal opinion, is a production up there with the best of the best of musicals and I’ve seen a good few. You can put this in the same bracket of Les Misérables and Blood Brothers as this performance is truly amazing and I’ll tell you more on the production later.
If not many of you know Buxton, it is in the Peak District, the drive is tranquil and surreal and set in a nice peaceful setting to which you can just sit back and relax and take in your surroundings, it’s a stunning drive whichever way you come from and this just sets the perfect tone for a perfect evening at the theatre and would recommend you make a day of it as Buxton is stunning.
Parking for the theatre was easy, we parked in the Pavilion Gardens car park which is free after 6pm and is only a short walk to the Buxton Opera House and had ample parking as there is also the Pavilion Arts Centre, cinema and swimming pool. We did also see some free on-street car parking after 6pm close to the theatre, but had to make sure that you avoid the Residents Parking Scheme areas. Parking was no issue at all.
Upon arrival at the theatre we was astounded by the appearance as it was as it would of been many years ago with its ornate features, we walked in and made our way the Box Office, which was advertised really well so it was easy to obtain our tickets, the staff member on duty was friendly and welcomed us with a warm smile and was a great start to the experience of Buxton Opera House and it didn’t stop there as every member of staff gave above and beyond fabulous customer service as from entering the building to sitting in our seats, we had 8 members of staff greet us and show us where we was to go and saying hello, even during the interval, we were asked if we was enjoying the show. The staff were also dressed smart and if everywhere were like this, I don’t think there would be too many people unhappy in this world, cannot fault them at all superb job!
Once we got our tickets we made our way to the Dress Circle bar which opens 45 minutes before the performance started and it’s just a perfect place for you to relax and enjoy the perfect surrounding of the exquisite theatre. The bar offers a range of drinks and snacks and speciality gin served with matched mixers and garnishes which will tickle your taste buds, and for a theatre the prices are just perfect and will not break the bank balance. As the theatre is undergoing a little change they don’t accept card payments so bring cash but check before your visit if you can pay on card.
One thing which I would recommend in buying are the ‘Posh Picking boxes’, they are a perfect accompaniment to the evening as they are packed with the highest quality of drink and snacks, they contain the following: wine (choice of red or white), crisps (I had Chardonnay wine vinegar), smooth white and milk chocolate raisins and these were also lovely and you can’t go to Buxton without having some BUXTON water, these were packed in a reusable box and were elegant. These boxes need to be pre-ordered and they will be ready when you arrive at the theatre and for the cost of £10, these are well worth the money and a super idea by the Buxton Opera House and when we come again we will definitely be pre-ordering ours.
The theatre itself is absolutely stunning, you just sit back in your seat and go WOW, and this is because the theatre is old and original, just perfect, this theatre wouldn’t look out of place if it was in London or in the West End.
This production of Monty Python was amazingly directed, and you have to have your eyes everywhere as every cast member is hilarious, from their facial expressions to their dancing and singing and there is always something going on. They truly make the most of each of the cast playing their parts, so this is one very clever director who has truly got the best out of cast.
Ashley Nottingham’s choreography is clever and original which just flows with the performance throughout.
The band plays well throughout the performance and they just help lift the show and the interaction between them and the cast just goes to show just how well this play is executed.
Marc Akinfolarin shows why he plays Sir Bedevere as he shows his strong comedy chops and delivers the classic Monty Python old crone with aplomb, just had me in stitches, very funny. 10/10 for his performance.
Stephen Arden, as Sir Robin provides plenty of laughs and just bounces off Marc and you can see they have a great performing relationship. 10/10 for his performance.
Grace Eccle and Gleanne Purcell-Brown showcase strong voices and dance ability and alongside Shane Mcdaid these three show their impressive skills, to form a great trio of this show. Performance I would give 8/10.
Matthew Pennington has a great range and comic timing and in the song ‘I am not dead yet’ he was just hilarious, and his timings were amazing. 9/10 for his performance.
Johnathan Tweedie is brilliant with each of his roles and he is wonderfully over the top and eccentric perfect performance in my eyes has you crying in laughter. 10/10 for his performance.
Norton James as Galahad shows his powerful vocal in a duet with Sarah Harlington and is particularly hilarious as the father of Price Herbert. 8/10 for their performance.
Sarah Harlington the female lead sounds fabulous as the Lady of the Lake and wrings every laugh and is a complete Diva as it shows in the second act. Funny every step of the way and has an amazing voice, her facial expressions complete her part as they are so striking. Performance 10/10.
Rhys Owen who plays the role of Patsy OMG I couldn’t stop laughing at him just funny and the interaction between him and King Arthur was just comedy perfection. 10/10 for their performance.
Rounding up the cast are Bob Harms who is King Arthur and play this part to perfection, taking himself just seriously enough for us to laugh both with and at him, he is also superb at improvisation… extremely impressed with his performance. 10/10 for his performance.
Overall this is a truly amazing, hilarious, feel good production of a very silly musical. With iconic lines, beloved characters and all the charm of the original movie with the added bonus of some brilliant Broadway spoof songs, I would recommend catching this production when it comes around to your theatre as we didn’t want to leave. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!
Overall 5/5 super quality had me in stitches throughout the production.
Tickets cost from £24 to £35 (booking fees may apply).
Monty Python’s Spamalot is at Buxton Opera House from 16-20 January 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit buxtonoperahouse.org.uk or call the box office on 01298 72190.
Buxton Opera House, Water Street, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6XN | 01298 72190