Monty Python fans, rejoice.
If you missed John Cleese’s recent visit to the Pantages, you’ve got another chance to revel in the absurdity and sheer silliness of that iconic British comedy troupe, but with Tacoma talent. Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s “Spamalot” — the musical version of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” — walks a perfect line between honoring the original gem and delivering fresh hilarity in song, dance and outrageous accents.
Let’s start with acknowledging the elephant in the room: It’s tough to put on “Spamalot” and know half your audience will be die-hard Python fans who can recite the entire film by heart. Do you say those French taunts with exactly that rattle-off monotone? Do you play Lancelot with Cleese’s inimitable posh accent and abruptness? Or do you dare to do something original and risk annoying everyone? The Playhouse cast lands nicely in the middle, with nods to the 1975 classic, but some fresh takes, too.
John Cooper is magnificent as the bemused King Arthur, as solemn as Graham Chapman but with a much better operatic baritone. Mauro Bozzo channels Eric Idle as the chicken Sir Robin, but developing the character into the musical-loving version complete with over-the-top Jewish caricature. Derek Hall pays homage to Michael Palin’s Cockney-swaggering socialist peasant Dennis, but evolves into a Sir Galahad with a melodramatic vocal flair. Andrew Fry is just as hysterical as Idle as the pious Brother Maynard (“Five is right out!”). Gary Chambers leads the taunting French knights with all the ridiculousness of the original.
But this is the Broadway version, and Trista Duval brings a delightful mix of vocal diva and down-to-earth gal to the Lady of the Lake, while Bruce Haasl’s Lancelot and Jake Atwood’s Prince Herbert get it on in campy ’70s style. There’s a lovely a cappella moment as the Grail is found and a couple of fun tap dances.
Best of all, no visual gag is left unturned by director Jon Rake and the production crew, from flying cow to dismembered Black Knight to rather suggestive beer mugs. Chorus singing and choreography are well-planned and energetic, the band is on point, and if the sound system is amateurishly unbalanced, it’s a small price to pay for 2 1/2 hours of solid laughs.
Where: Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 Sixth Ave.
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays through April 9.
Tickets: $31 general; $29 senior, military, student; $22 ages 12 and younger.
Information: 253-565-6867, tmp.org.