My friends and I went and saw Blue Fish's performance of Spamalot. It. Was. Brilliant.
I saw it in the West End in 2008 and, while I was looking forward to it, I was secretly thinking, "This cannot be as good".
And it wasn't. It was worse. And Better.
Let me explain.
The sets were terrible. The 'very expensive forest' was three cardboard cut outs of trees. The West End, with its millions had trees everywhere and it looked like a forest.
The mics faded in and out. Especially on the company songs. The women weren't micced properly and you couldn't hear them most of the time. The men, while extremely fit, lost some of their oomph in the final song and you couldn't hear them over the band very well.
The costumes were designed for stick figures. Which was all very well for the two stick-figured ladies. But the one who was around a size 14 with one of the best looking bosoms this side of Dawn French (who, incidentally writes a great autobiography. I implore you to read Dear Fatty,) was jumping and dancing around with only tiny bits of cloth to cover them. It wasn't too distracting though, I'm just sympathetic about it, you know, being an E cup and all.
I know the songs inside out and back to front. I enjoy them in the car almost every week on the drive back and forth from Toowoomba to Brisbane. Only a couple of lines were changed, and I know why. Irritating, but I can cope with that. So that was good.
The dancing was excellent (except for the Knight who stood in the background jumping up and down and throwing his arms in the air; but that was amusing and, being Monty Python, fit right in.) I had such a buzz watching grown men throw themselves around the stage with gusto, loving dancing.
I have never, let me repeat, NEVER, heard singing of that calibre in an amateur production. I've rarely heard singing of that calibre in professional productions. Certainly not in the West End production of this show. BUT I could excuse that 'cause it was funny comedians who you went to see and laugh at.
But the best bit about the night was sitting next to one of my best friend and her husband (also one of my best friends.) I picked him up from uni about a month ago and made him listen to a few of the songs on the CD, but he hadn't heard the whole thing. He loves, I don't think it would be an understatement to say that he would become polygymous if he was allowed to marry Monty Python (expecially Mr Cleese.) He laughed for 3 hours straight. It was a pure joy to behold.
So, on the balance, I think I enjoyed this production slightly better than the West End.
I'm sorry the West End. I love you.