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Monty Python madness takes center stage at Centrepointe Theatre

By Dylan Barnabe on March 10, 2014

It’s not every night that knights in shining armor perform a strip tease onstage.

But then again, these aren’t your average knights.

For the past three months, the cast and crew of Orpheus Musical Theatre Society’s latest production, Monty Python’s Spamalot, have been hard at work perfecting their jousting and jesting.

Based on and “lovingly ripped off” the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the 2005 musical tells the story of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Created by comedian Eric Idle, the show is not only a fitting tribute to the old troupe, but also a standalone comedy in its own right. The original Broadway production won three Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical.

From a Finnish fish-slapping dance to a chorus of bubonic plague corpses—and plenty of Spam in between—there’s no end to the silly and surreal happenings onstage. At the dress rehearsal on March 6, artistic director Bob Lackey was quick to praise his cast and crew for their hard work and dedication.

And praise they deserve.

Even before the curtain rose, the theatre was filled with laughter. Everyone from the chorus to the orchestra conductor stayed in character throughout the duration of the show and gave an animated performance,—often breaking the fourth wall to engage with the audience members.

Specifically, actors Thomas Franzky (King Arthur) and Réjean Mayer (Patsy) were a delightful duo to watch onstage as they journeyed across Britain’s countryside. Likewise, Shaun Toohey (Robin) and Gab Desmond (Galahad) stole the show with their comedic timing.

Currently in its 108th season, Orpheus is home to many of Ottawa’s local theatre lovers. One such lover is Andréa Black, who plays the role of the Lady of the Lake. (Swimmingly well to her credit!)

“Orpheus is an amazing organization that allows people to live their passion,” says Andréa, a seasoned veteran and member of the society since 1998. “I’ve met many of my best friends doing shows during my time with the organization.”

So whether you’re an age-old follower of Monty Python or simply looking for a fun outing on the town, Orpheus delivers an uproariously good night of Middle Ages magic.

As they say in Camelot, “always look on the bright side of life!”

Monty Python’s Spamalot runs from Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 16 at Centrepointe Theatre. Purchase your tickets online or by phone (613-580-2700).