Not that it matters, but "Monty Python's Spamalot" is the tale of a quest to find the Holy Grail. Led by brave King Arthur and his loyal knights, the quest succeeds, but only after a pitched battle against a tiny, fuzzy, cute-as-a-kitten, but mean-as-a-Pirahna bunny.
But "Spamalot's" real quest is to make your innards ache from laughter. And this quest succeeds as well. How can it not when you have Knights of the Round Table prancing around the stage, clopping coconut half-shells together to simulate the hoofs of the horses they're not really riding.
The actors in "Spamalot" will do anything they can squeeze into a couple of hours -- short of running into the audience and tickling you -- to make you laugh. And they do it wildly well in the Tri-Valley Repertory production that runs at Livermore's Bankhead Theater through Nov. 3.
Eric Idle , an original member of the famed Monty Python sketch comedy team, and John Du Prez teamed to write a bright and clever script, jam-packed with the kinds of funny lines and non-sequiturs that fly by so fast they seem not to care if you get the joke or not. But it is the kind of rich comedic material that reveals new levels of genius on repeated viewings.
And, fortunately, the cast is up to the challenge of expertly delivering material that ranges from a backhanded homage to Monty Python, world history, religion, male/female relationships and general silliness.
Director John Maio has taken great pains to let show gallop unrestrained across its wide swath of history and comic references, while making sure all the humor the script provides hits home.
He is helped considerably in this by a delightful cast, headed by King Arthur (Scott Phillips) and his faithful manservant, Patsy (David Irving), who, among other things, carries a huge pack containing just about everything, and does the coconut-shell-clopping for his majesty. Phillips, on the other hand, is as dignified as any king could be while prancing to the beat of coconut shells and becoming smitten with the Lady of the Lake (Alexis Rogers), who is usually accompanied by her half-dozen maidens, the Laker Girls.
Rogers gets some great musical material that not only shows off her wonderful voice but highlights the theatrical parody with tunes such as, "The Song That Goes like This" and "The Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?)."
And then, there's Galahad (Paul Plain), who is discovered by Arthur playing in a mud puddle and is quickly turned into the brave knight, clad all in white and topped with a blonde wig that sort of circumnavigates his head through the show.
His knightly counterpart, Lancelot (Jeff Seaberg), is the much more violent knight we first meet helping collect plague victims (and thwacking those not quite dead to speed up the process).
This is an incredibly funny show, well done by the Tri-Valley Rep cast, played on a flexible and highly imaginative set designed by Fred Sharkey. The show was cleverly choreographed by Todd Aragon and Morgan Breedveld, with musical direction by Jo Anne Fosselman, who directs the orchestra into delivering the tunes, which, like everything else about the show, have their own jokes.
Contact Pat Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Eric Idle and John Du Prez, presented by Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre
Through: Nov. 3
Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Where: Bankhead Theatre, 2400 First St., Livermore.
Tickets: $28-$38, 925-373-6800 or www.mylvpac.com