I didn’t have the opportunity to catch 6th Street Playhouse’s “Spamalot” during its Santa Rosa run, so when I was invited to attend their final dress rehearsal before opening in Napa I was more than happy to drudge out to the Napa Valley Opera House and check it out.
Eric Idle’s theatrical potpourri of all things Monty Python has no goal other than to entertain you. Quite frankly, it’s a silly show – an incredibly silly show – full of silly people doing silly things. All this silliness is made that much sillier by the earnest, grounded performance of Barry Martin as Arthur, King of the Brits. One must have someone not quite-so-silly to play the silliness of off, and Martin provides that, though he does get an occasion or two to act silly himself.
While everyone in this show is silly, Chief among those silly surrounding Arthur is his trusty sidekick/servant/horse Patsy, played by Erik Weiss. This kid more than holds his own against a large group of local stage veterans, and I found his energy, enthusiasm and commitment a sign of good things to come from the next generation of Sonoma County-grown talent.
When the cast isn’t acting silly, they’re singing silly. With production numbers of songs like “I’m Not Dead Yet”, “The Song That Goes Like This”, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” and many others, Idle manages to ape, parody, and insult musical theatre while managing to respect and honor it as well. The accompanying orchestra did a fine job of filling the opera house with their merry music.
While it helps to have some familiarity with the Python canon (particularly during the sing-a-long at the end,) anyone could wander into the theatre and end the evening with a big smile on his/her face. The entire cast is game for an evening of silliness, and while they’ve all been doing this show for a while now, there were no signs of boredom or complacency, and no one was phoning it in. They all gave it “their all” for a sparsely populated theatre during their final dress. They made me laugh. I can’t imagine how explosive they’ll be with an actual audience.
If you didn’t get a chance to see “Spamalot” at the 6th Street Playhouse, and you’re in the mood to just laugh, make plans to spend an evening in Napa. The show runs through October 20th. Grab a nice meal, down an ale or two, and head on over to the Napa Valley Opera House. But don’t eat/drink too much. I’d hate for a “Mr. Creosote” to spoil the evening… 😛
Oct 11th – Oct 20th
Napa Valley Opera House
1030 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559