Book & Lyrics by Eric Idle. Music by John du Prez & Eric Idle. Presented by Paterson Productions. Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane. 17-26 November, 2023

Glitz and glamour currently abound at the Twelfth Night Theatre with producer Samantha Paterson and director Shaun McCallum's production of this camp musical adaptation of the popular movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. With a cast of twenty-two, many playing different roles and requiring numerous costume changes, this community production well-captures the essence of the show and, on opening night, had many an audience member laughing, cheering and singing along with the vivacious cast and rollicking orchestral accompaniment.

What I love about community theatre is the opportunity to see those shows we missed or would like to see again (and again) and it's always refreshing to experience a musical with the accent on comedy, from whence indeed the term 'musical' came from, musical-comedy, because this is a show designed to tickle your funny bone in true Monty Python style. There was even a hint-or-three at some improvisation along the way which added that little extra spice to what is quite a 'naughtily-scripted' show at times and indeed a mammoth production to mount.

With the cast often doubling up and sometimes disguised in a variety of costumery and detachable props, it was not always easy to comprehend who was playing who, but notable was James Lennox, playing Sir Lancelot as well as the uproarious French gate-keeper, and Sam Caruana as Sir Robin. Also, androgyny abounds with the effervescent Joan Camuglia-May playing Sir Bevedere as well as a surprise role in the second act. The show also includes veteran Patrick Oxley in a very convincing portrayal of King Arthur, David McLaughlin as a terrific Patsy and the dulcet tones of singer/actor Jake Lyle as Sir Galahad.

With a myriad of camp production numbers colourfully enhanced by Jessica Papst playing the Lady of the Lake, and with the Laker Girls and Knights Ensemble all prancing around the stage citing plenty of energy and glow in true Broadway style, this is as exhilarating and exhausting to watch as it would be to participate in.

Choreographer Maureen Bowra has brought the Broadway-style production staging to light and life and the show is well-accompanied by a bright and brassy orchestra under the capable hands of Musical Director Julie Whiting.

With enough glitter to outshine a drag queen's dream show (and turn 'they/them' green) this is community theatre truly embodying the unique style of 'silly' English Monty Python humour and well worth a visit for fans and those wanting a fun night out.

(Was that Eric Idle playing the hilariously-scripted part of God on the video insert?)

Brian Adamson

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