“Bring me a shrubbery!!” watch out for Killer Rabbits, head toFoster City!

Russell Ward as the French Taunter. Mark and Tracy Photography.

Love Monty Python? Want to see Sir Lancelot and King Arthur dancing and singing their way to Camelot?  Well, what happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot, so pack up the family and head over to Foster City for a rollicking time with SPAMALOT, directed by Dan Demers.  Hillbarn Theatre does it again with a blockbuster production and fun for everyone (though some adult themes and gestures included).  I have always wanted to see SPAMALOT but I had my doubts as to how theatre could replicate Monty Python’s Holy Grail, so I didn’t know what to expect.

But SPAMALOT does it, and Hillbarn did a fantastic job (as usual).  If you are a Monty Python fan, you will LOVE this show!  “I’m not dead yet,” one of my favorite scenes of all time, was early in Act I and had the audience in stitches.  I especially did not anticipate they would be able to pull off the Black Knight scene, but pull it off they did, along with managing to chop off all his extremities (“It’s just a flesh wound!!”).  Other favorite scenes included are the Knights that say Ni, “Bring me a shrubbery!!!!” and the killer rabbits.

Russ Bohard as King Arthur. Mark and Tracy Photography.

I started to get excited for the show when I saw their Facebook posts and photos of them building the set and props.  There is a LOT of work put into the production of this complicated show, and multiple technical props. The set design is a giant castle covering the entire stage which lights up at various times. The Trojan Rabbit was huge and awesome, the killer rabbit was hysterical, there is a big cow tossed, and, while not props, let’s not forget the dancing Laker Girls and Sir Robin’s Minstrels.

Casting was perfect.  Tracy Chiappone as Lady of the Lake was tremendous, Russel Ward was an hilarious Sir Lancelot, and I really loved Paul Araquistain as Patsy, and Ray Mendonca as Sir Robin.  Oh, let us not forget Steven Ennis, who was born for the role of Prince Herbert.

Sir Robin played by Ray Mendonca* (center) and his Minstrels, Jacob Marker (center right), Evelyn Chan (right), Steven Ennis ( left), and Jason Hobart (center left). Mark and Tracy Photography.

The choreography wasn’t as tight as it usually is and there were some technical glitches, HOWEVER, this is a huge production and I have no doubt the show will get better and better after each performance.   I can see there was an enormous amount of work put into the show, and overall it exceeded my expectations. Everyone left the theatre singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.

I had so much fun.  Opening Night was a sold out show and the audience was ready for some play time in the air conditioned theatre.  Lee Foster, Hillbarn’s Executive Production Director, noted before the start of the show that the people of Foster City should remember that Hillbarn is a great theatre right in their backyard.  I can’t argue with that, I drive 35 miles each way to see their shows and I have never been disappointed.  So head over to Foster City and see a show that is rarely produced nearer to the South Bay than San Francisco!

 

The Cast of Hillbarn Theatre’s Production of Monty Python’s Spamalot!. Mark and Tracy Photography.

SPAMALOT
Through September 22 [extended to September 29!!]
Hillbarn Theatre
1285 East Hillsdale Blvd, Foster City

 

I really look forward to the rest of their season.
Make your plans now!:

Lettuce and Lovage:  October 18 – November 2013
Mame:  December 6 – December 22
The Grapes of Wrath: January 24 – February 9
Lend Me a Tenor: March 14 – March 30
The Color Purple:  May 9 – June 1

 

 

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