After being the highest selling venue on last year’s tour of Spamalot it seemed inevitable that the show would return to a town who clearly loved the mix of musical pastiche and Python-esque humour.
Phill Jupitus this time took the role of King Arthur, underplaying a lot of the brasher comedy moments, Jupitus injected his own character into the role as well as a number of topical jabs at celebrities (both Sepp Blatter and Ryan Giggs were subjects of barbed one liners). His singing may lack power but he makes up for it with a seemingly bottomless pit of ad-libs.
Jodie Prenger had some fine comic moments as the Lady Of The Lake whose scenes were the only drastic departure from the film on which the show is based. Her melodramatic wailing and knowing winks to the audience constantly lampooning the talent shows that populate our TV screens (and from which she was discovered).
The real star though was former EastEnder Todd Carty as Patsy. Carty’s warmth and humour had a touch of Lee Evans about them and he injected heart into what could have otherwise been nothing more than a series of amusing sketches.
If there was a downside to the touring version of Spamalot it is only that the much reduced ensemble remove some of the spectacle, however the versatile performers made up for this by keeping the performance compact. Special mention in this regard to David Langham who throws himself into every role from historian to Herbert with undisguised glee!