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Find your grail, before it’s gone

By R. Eli Townsend
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Thingamajig Thingamajig Theatre Company presents the regional premiere of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” rated PG-13. Performances run Wednesday-Sunday in rep with “The Full Monty,” through Aug. 11.

Photo courtesy Thingamajig
Thingamajig Theatre Company presents the regional premiere of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” rated PG-13. Performances run Wednesday-Sunday in rep with “The Full Monty,” through Aug. 11.

You don’t need a pair of coconuts to have a great time at Thingamajig Theatre Company’s premiere presentation of “Spamalot,” running through Aug. 11 at Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

What better description of this show can you have than the one from the program cover, “A New Musical Lovingly Ripped From The Motion Picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail”?

If you are not a Monty Python enthusiast, don’t worry. If you have any semblance of a sense of humor, this is a show that will make you laugh from beginning to end.

The original productions on Broadway and in London’s West End were major successes and this production, directed by Pat Payne and choreographed by Ryan Hazelbaker, is as good and fun as the version seen on Broadway.

The whole cast takes to the crazy Python scenes with a fervor and dedication unmatched by other “Spamalot” productions — these actors really get it. Pat Payne’s staging and Thingamajig’s costumes (from the original West End production, leased by artistic director Tim Moore) as well as the music from the original orchestration are first class. Somehow, the performers manage to resist giving in and laughing with the audience.

How does one describe this kind of humor in print? It’s difficult because it depends so much on a combination of words, timing, facial expressions and that magical unknown that enables creator Eric Idle to make King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail such an incredible romp that it kept the opening night audience in fits of uncontrollable laughter.

In one example, King Arthur (Tim Moore) fights a duel with the Black Knight (Ron Tal) in which the latter is gradually dismembered, while all the time he is saying that these were only scratch wounds, even while his arms and legs lay around the stage — it just doesn’t work in print, but it is hilarious on stage.

Likewise, the scene where they attempt to infiltrate a French castle using a giant wooden rabbit modeled on the Trojan Horse. The ploy works, except they have unfortunately forgotten to hide inside it. The “killer” rabbit that defends the Grail is dynamite — don’t mess with this fellow!

“Spamalot” is truly a feast for the senses and the crowning achievement for Thingamajig in its short three years of existence. Moore notes that, as with last summer’s “Chicago,” pre-sales for “Spamalot” are incredibly strong. But, unlike last year, the contract with the West End costumes and national talent are only through Aug. 11, so there’s no chance of extending the run. All this lends a sense of urgency for procuring your tickets now.

Find your grail and your tickets before this one leaves in August.

Thingamajig Theatre Company presents the regional premiere of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” rated PG-13. Performances run Wednesday-Sunday in rep with “The Full Monty,” through Aug. 11.

For tickets, show times and information visit www.pagosacenter.org or call 731-SHOW.

This story was posted on June 27, 2013.