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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Nikos Nook: Entry #1
Niko's Nook: Entry #1
December 5, 2023

“Monty Python’s Spamalot”: a New Angle for the Drama Department

“Monty Python’s Spamalot”: a New Angle for the Drama Department
Alec Chvany

The Drama program’s “Monty Python’s Spamalot” was a bold choice by the drama department, straying far from the plays they typically perform for the school. The show consists of many informal jokes, loud characters and impressive sets.

“Spamalot” is a parody of the original Monty Python franchise, specifically “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The play takes place in medieval England and follows King Arthur, played by Kyle Gerstel, on his journey to find the Holy Grail. Along the way, he meets many knights and encounters whimsical obstacles.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot” was an enthusiastic and energetic show, the most memorable aspects of the play being the acting and overall performance of the cast. The jokes and dramatic delivery absolutely carried the performance, along with the commitment of the actors themselves, making the show all the more entertaining.

“[The] dance numbers and the music [were] very over the top,” cast member Damian Neuner, who played Sir Lancelot, said of his favorite part of the performance.

As an audience member with no prior knowledge of Monty Python at all, it was pretty difficult to follow the exact plot or comprehend the basis of the play in its entirety. However, the unconventional use of many self-targeted jokes, modern parallels and fourth wall breaks–even including crowd involvement–made the show different and unique. However, I was not struck by the songs nor did I find the plot to be the strong point of the play, but rather the acting, writing and the well-made sets. These sets were very accurate to the time period and it was clear that the production team put a lot of work into the look and feel of them.

My favorite supporting characters in the play by far were Sir Galahad, played by Alden Ritter, and Lady of the Lake, played by Annabel Rimmer. I found Sir Galahad to be a really underrated character, and Ritter did an amazing job of portraying him within his little stage time. Rimmer’s scenes stood out to me and arguably the audience as well, due to her character’s loud personality, jokes and impressive songs. My favorite song–“The Song That Goes Like This,” sung by Rimmer and Gerstel–was sung very powerfully and humorously by the cast and ensemble, making it my favorite number.

“I’ve never been a supporting lead in a musical, it was really fun,” Katie McGuire, who plays the character Patsy, King Arthur’s servant, said.  Although a minor character, she was very funny and became an important part of the play. I loved her character’s subtle jokes and mannerisms, and wish we got to see more of her on stage. 

The cast and crew undoubtedly worked extremely hard to pull off the show, as shown in the production through the numerous costume changes, full cast dance numbers, moving sets and the lighting. 

“Just looking at the end product, we’re really proud of all the work we did,”cast member Omolara Olusanya said.

 Compared to most drama performances, the non-serious atmosphere of the play was new and refreshing. A lot of the humor was self-targeted, as King Arthur often made subtle quips, poking fun at past Monty Python movies while also breaking the fourth wall. The execution and commitment by the actors carried the show, garnering positive reactions from the audience. Spamalot is a very fun and non-standard school play, distinguishing itself from the drama department’s traditional productions.

Spamalot will run again on Nov. 16, 17, and 18 at 7 p.m. in the MIHS PAC.

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