Woodstock Spamalot Hits the Funny Bone with Full Force

Mounting a local production of Monty Python’s Spamalot is no small feat. Under the skillful direction of Kathie Comella, Woodstock Musical Theatre Company’s production at the historic Woodstock Opera House succeeds with laughs a plenty.

A stage adaptation of the cult classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot follows the exploits of an inept King Arthur as he gathers knights to go on a quest to find the Holy Grail.

In the Woodstock production, King Arthur and his knights are all adept at comedic timing, while displaying fine singing voices.

As King Arthur, Gordon Wisniewski is appropriately bumbling and feeble minded to good effect. His sidekick Patsy is equally well played by Alex Fayer – who has one of the finest voices in the cast.

Each of the knights stands out as well cast and well coached. Daren Walsh is sidesplitting as the cowardly Sir Robin. Gary Mackowiak is powerful with deadly animosity as Sir Lancelot, only to make a dramatic change of persuasion later in the story.

Matthew Stewart is a delight as the ever-vain Sir Galahad and performs one of the standout songs of the show The Song that Goes Like This opposite the Lady of the Lake (Elizabeth Zimmerman). Brendan Gaughan’s Sir Bedevere may have the least lines of the knights, but he delivers a knockout performance with the material he has to work with.

As the female lead, Zimmerman milks her songs for all they are worth – earning the adoration of the audience with a stellar voice and quick wit. It is the Lady of the Lake’s entourage The Laker Girls that take the show to a whole different level of fun and entertainment. The talented singer/dancers consist of Heidi Zapp, Grace Schulz, Jessica Pohlman, Lara Bell, April Noel, and Shannon Lee Day.

Not to be outdone, the rest of the ensemble is also a delight, featuring the talents of Matthew Leptich, Lynn Cotner, Geoffrey Lindow, Charlie Sommers, Chris Griffin, Jeffrey DuBois, Spencer Stanley, and Liam Bell.

Thomas Neumann takes the cake with his over-the-top portrayal of Prince Herbert – the unlikely love interest of the not-quite-ready-to-come-out Sir Lancelot.

The choreography by Maggie McCord  and music direction by Kenzie Parry are both very well done, as the ensemble shines both vocally and in dance.

Costume designer Teagan Anderson and her assistants Tina Anderson, Mary Bower, Trudie Dreyer, and William Roberts have done a fantastic job. Set designer/scenic artist Barry R. Norton has set the stage well – particularly when Camelot turns out to be a Las Vegas-like pleasure palace. Wigs by Maggie McCord and Virginia Zymonas add to the ambiance of the story.

It would be a disgrace not to mention the phenomenal pit musicians Danielle Cairoli, Dave Childress, Sue Childress, Carolyn Awe, David Byers, Greg Conrad, Stacy Knorr Rapach, Kristin Lundine Miller, Paul Wood, and Bill Bedsole.

If you are a fan of classic Monty Python humor, or just plain good musical theater, then look no further than WMTC’s Spamalot playing Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through April 22 at the Woodstock Opera House (121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock, IL). For tickets contact the Woodstock Opera House box office at (815) 338-5300 or visit www.WoodstockOperaHouse.com.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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