Yesterday Chris, Melanie, Chef, Andy, Louise and I cantered with coconut shells a-clacking to the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, for the matinee performance of Spamalot.
An opportune 3-for-2 offer meant that wine-drinking began almost as we left Cambridge; on arrival at King’s Cross we were on the second bottle. This tongue-loosener helped me heckle an out-of-towner standing on the left on an escalator, who was blissfully unaware that people have gone to the Tower for less.
Disgorged at Leicester Square blinking into a sunny spring day we found our pre-theatre pub, The Cambridge, and sat outside people-watching with a pint until the time came to saunter over the road for curtain up. Chris took a sneaky photo as we waited for the performance to start.
It’s a fantastic show. Very, very funny. Everyone in the audience was intimately familiar with the original film, of course, and all is present and correct, but there are still a few surprises (which I won’t spoil here). I’m glad to report the absence of anoraks with their weak lemon drinks joining in with the script, but certain lines, and the appearance of certain characters, did cause a round of applause. I found this amusing; it reminded me of the demented hollering of studio audiences when Fonzie gurned onto set, or the applause when a musical artiste starts banging out an old faithful.
No expense is spared in the production; it’s very twinkly indeed. The only slip-up I saw involved the gradual separation of a knight from his moustache. The cast is uniformly very good, and Simon Russell Beale made an excellent Arthur. Different from Graham Chapman in (a) height, (b) width and (c) sobriety.
Yes, you could buy coconut shell merchandise and tins of commemorative spam. No, we didn’t. However, Chef bought an “I’m not dead yet” t-shirt (not applicable to his car).
Avaragado’s rating: one bowl of assorted fruit
Post-Spamalot we boozed at Waxy O’Connors, a pub containing a tree for no adequately explained reason. And then we ate at Mela, an Indian restaurant near to the theatre, before training home.
See Chris’s photos of the day, if you haven’t already.
Back in Cambridge just before eleven, I all-too-predictably went to the Fleur and met up with Robert and Richard. There was a Shirley Bassey impersonator on stage; very poor, and inexplicably murdering Sinatra songs rather than the traditional Bassey staples. Once she’d finally warbled her last, the three of us set the world to rights until 1am before continuing up the road in the Rose for another couple of hours.
At closing time a bouncer (not Craig) took issue with Robert’s reluctance to drink up and his forthright tongue and, how can I put it, slapped his remaining half-pint (in plastic glass) from his hands to the floor via his trousers. Poor show. Robert declared that he’ll never go back there again, but he’s probably forgotten that.