Andrew Barton

Puns and parodies

NANAIMO – Knights of the Round Table ride into Nanaimo as part of Schmooze Productions’ Spamalot

Puns and parodies liberally pepper Nanaimo’s Centre Stage when King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table ride into town searching for the Holy Grail.

Presented by Nanaimo’s Schmooze Productions, Monty Python’s Spamalot, the three-time Tony Award-winning play, takes an irreverent look at the legendary Arthurian era of the Middle Ages.

With big songs, a chorus line of dancing divas, knee slapping knights, and the bumbling sincerity of King Arthur himself, Spamalot is lovingly ripped off from the cult classic film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Dean Chadwick, artistic director and producer, said he still remembers familiar lines from the well-watched movie.

Getting a production of this calibre to Nanaimo was no easy quest in itself. Chadwick said he talked fast and never gave up.

“It was expensive getting the rights, but I wanted to bring something memorable, unique and a bit avant-garde to Nanaimo,” he said.

Pushing convention isn’t new for Chadwick. The mandate for his production company is to bring edgy to Nanaimo.

Over the past five years he’s produced The Full Monty and Rocky Horror Picture Show. With Spamalot he not only brings comedy and music but also a spoof of Medieval England.

Retaining many of the classic film’s best bits, including encounters with killer rabbits, flatulent Frenchmen and Not Dead Fred, the Knights of this Round Table are unapologetic in their absurdity.

With the local talent of Rob Atkinson who plays King Arthur, Gary Alfred as Sir Lancelot, Gord Bestwick playing Sir Galahad, David Mathews as the timid Sir Robin and Brennan Conroy as Sir Bedevere, the play takes the audience through the travels of King Arthur, with coconut-clacking servant, Patsy.

“We use local artists,” said Chadwick. “Because Nanaimo has so much incredible talent.”

Chadwick, an elementary school teacher turned theatre company owner, producer and director, with his two daughters and wife are passionate about theatre. The casting and rehearsal process, started in September and at a minimum 14 hours a week, has lasted more than two months.

“We play to sell-out crowds because we present quality productions,” Chadwick said.

Decades later Monty Python is still entertaining audiences with slapstick humour, repeatable laugh lines and memorable, award winning songs. Performances run Nov 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 and Dec 5-7. Tickets are $25.

“No one will be disappointed,” said Chadwick. “There is intrigue for everyone, humour for the men and dancing knights in tights for the ladies.”

For tickets or for more information, please visit www.schmoozeproductions.com.

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