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Theater Review: ‘Spamalot’ Takes Richter Audiences On A Strange, Enjoyable Journey; Three Performances Remain



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UPDATE (July 11, 2019): This story has been updated to correctly reflect the name of the actor playing Herbert and the minstrel, as well as the multiple roles covered by Jacob Litt.

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DANBURY — There is nothing like a night of theater under the stars, particularly when the audience is taken on a journey through a strangely populated yet enchanted forest.

Welcome to Spamalot, Musicals at Richter’s summer opener, an outrageous and hysterically funny production of this Monty Python musical, with book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle. Under the direction and choreography of Shannon-Courtney Denihan, the production is an absolute hoot.

This is the tale of the Holy Grail, which in musical comedy format only serves to ripen the bawdiness and perfect the broad comedy. King Arthur (played by Walter Cramer) wanders his domain convincing others he really is a king, collecting a cadre of knights, and being challenged to pointless quests. Clacking away behind the king is his loyal servant, the droll, dedicated, and fittingly named Patsy (Mike Armstrong).

Along the way, Arthur encounters truly silly characters hiding in trees and hovering high in castles. The laughs are endless. This cast is comprised of actors with an abundance of extraordinary vocal talent, comedic chops, and a genuine sense of fun. They all appear to be having the time of their lives.

The collection of knights is blessed by the exceptional talents of Bob Filipowich, Tom Denihan, Daniel Slatter, and Rob Mayette. Each of these performers plays multiple roles, and do so splendidly. They are supremely entertaining.

The lone female role actually played by a female, The Lady of the Lake, is fabulously portrayed by Mary Cantoni, who has fortunately returned to Richter after a long hiatus. Ms Cantoni is a consummate performer. Her Lady is rich with wry humor, self-promotion, and seduction. Ms Cantoni displays amazing vocal talent.

King Arthur is rendered a dim and befuddled ruler who is easily duped by the most ludicrous of characters. Walter Cramer strikes all the right notes, in every capacity. He is excellent.

Most of the actors in this performance play multiple roles. They all do so with an astonishing adeptness, creating vivid and distinct personalities and characteristics for each part.

Standout Jacob Litt is simply perfection in the roles in the roles of Prince Herbert/Minstrel, one of the monks, one of the Fisch Slapping Dancers, a Dancing Knight, a body, and a guard. His sweet voice and cherubic demeanor contrast so completely with his characters. Mr Litt has substantial comedic acumen.

This is a not-to-be-missed performance. Pack a picnic and load up the car to catch what is sure to be a summer highlight.

Performances continue for just one more weekend, Thursday through Saturday, July 11-13.

Staged on the grounds of Richter Arts Center, 100 Aunt Hack Road in Danbury, performances take place outdoors under the stars at 8 pm.

Grounds open at 7 pm for picnicking, with curtain at 8 pm.

Tickets for Friday and Saturday evenings are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students (with ID), and $15 for children 10 and under.

For tonight's performances, tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, and $10 for children 10 and under.

Audience members are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for lawn seating. A limited number of chairs are available free of charge at the concession area, and a snack/soft drink concession is onsite.

For tickets and further information, visit musicalsatrichter.org or call 203-748-6873.

Members of the company delight audiences in Monty Python’s Spamalot, the funny hit musical based on the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, playing outdoors on the grounds of Richter House Arts Center in Danbury through July 13.

—David Henningsen photo

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