Everyman Theatre Company is back again this year with the ever-growing Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival based in Sophia Gardens near the city centre. I went last year to see the magical musical “Into The Woods” and it was such a fun evening and an exciting new discovery for me. But this year, a good friend of mine was playing a part in Spamalot the Musical – so a group of us got tickets and went along to support her.
The Open Air Theatre Festival has got a great set-up. With a buzzing little bar and food on site (this year courtesy of the Grazing Shed with their delicious burgers), as well as under cover seating, you couldn’t ask for more. If you get a bit chilly during the show, you can even hire a blanket to keep you toasty! There’s such a great atmosphere at the Open Air Theatre Festival – everyone is friendly and seems to know each other, so it really feels like you’re among friends and family.
So, Spamalot the Musical – I never got into Monty Python so I didn’t know what to expect from this satirical show. But it is safe to say that it was hilarious!! There were jokes and comedy throughout, all brought together perfectly by the talented actors, dancers and singers who looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves the whole time, not to mention the fantastic orchestra which perfectly complimented the performance.
Set with a backdrop of trees in Sophia Gardens, which lit up magically as the night grew dark, the show opens with a brief history of the state of England at the time the show is set (with plague here, there, and everywhere) closely followed by a singing and dancing spectacle of Finnish characters being slapped in the face with fish! This really set the scene for the silliness that was to ensue, with the audience in stitches of laughter and giggles throughout.
The story follows King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table on their quest to find the Holy Grail, encountering numerous interesting characters along the way. From the Lady Of The Lake (a show-stopping diva with an incredible voice!) to a killer bunny rabbit (possibly the cutest bad-guy you’ll ever see!), there was laughter at every turn. It is a struggle to say which character was my favourite, but Herbert was definitely a star in this show, prancing around in his frills like a damsel in distress, and Patsy galloping onto the stage with his coconut shells never grew old!
The show was cleverly adapted to include references to Cardiff, as well as current political names like Theresa May and Donald Trump. There was even a mention of Justin Bieber, who happened to be playing a gig in Cardiff on the very same night. Each witty mention was met by cheers from the crowd and the audience got involved singing along to well-known numbers like “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. The choreography was vibrant and energetic, with super-quick costume changes from mermaids to cheer-leaders and the whole show was delivered with energy and excitement.
With such a talented cast and a spirited performance, Spamalot the Musical was definitely the perfect opening show for this year’s Open Air Theatre Festival. If this is a sign of things to come, I will definitely be booking tickets to see more shows this summer and I highly recommend that you do the same!
The line up includes: