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KATS - Spamalot

21st to 23rd February 2019

Review from the Newbury Weekkly News.

Bigging up the silly

KATS pull off Python's Spamalot with aplomb

KATS: Monty Python's Spamalot, at Kennet School Hall, from Thursday, February 21, to Saturday, February 23

I was part of a generation that grew up with the Monty Python programmes and films, with their irreverent and sometimes hit-and-miss humour, but I loved them. No surprise then I'd jump at the chance to review KATS' production of Spamalot – lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And what a treat it was.

It was crazy fun, with people doing the bizarre and politically incorrect subjects were tackled with a tongue in the cheek and often to the 'fourth' wall (audience and crew), pulling us into an uproarious parody of both the medieval as well as the theatrical.

As King Arthur, Kevin Miller created a wonderful, if slightly ponderous, character and John Hicks provided good comedy as his sidekick Patsy. Strong and with great comedy were Andy Pocock as Sir Lancelot. Shaun Blake as Sir Bedevere and Andrew Smith as Sir Robin. Siouxsie Millard gave a stellar portrayal as Lady of the Lake – what a vision – and Dave Richardson as French Taunter/Tim the Enchander was an absolute delight.

Also excellent in their dual or triple roles Were Gary Brown; (Not Dead Yet/Sir Boris); Mark Lillycrop (Historian/Brother Maynard/Knight of Ni); Paul Strickland (Mayor/Herbert's Father) and Dave Marsh as Sir Galahad and the gloriously effete Prince Herbert (loved this role).

It was the strength of playing in the many smaller roles which underpinned the quality of this production. I'm not a laugh-out-loud type – but found myself grinning through much of the action - and yes, even giggling.

KATS certainly are masters of the big musical set pieces – and with super choreography by Gemma Williams, a lively, well-shaped chorus, a slick set of Laker girl dancers (and the Knights of the Round Table), we were truly treated to some fantastic routines.

An imposing and well-devised set, a dazzling display of grungy and gorgeous costumes, clever effects and surprises (a KATS speciality – hats off to the technical team) and great lighting and sound all contributed to the high production values. Pre-recorded backing tracks are always a little 'clunky' in my opinion and lack the subtlety of live music; however, they were cued with awesome accuracy and it all came together excellently.

Congratulations to director Mike Cole, musical director Siouxsie Millard and the whole team for pulling this difficult show off with such aplomb.

It was pure entertainment from start to finish.