Also known for its high theatre from ballet to last month’s Jayne Eyre, the Grand ‘old’ Opera House can also deliver hat-raising comedy. At the moment its going through a bit of a face-lift – all old girls need a weekend in the spa, don’t they? On her return the first show to grace her new upholstery will be the Ulster Operatic Company’s version of Monty Python’s Spamalot.
A mockery of both The Life Of Brian and The Holy Grail, Spamalot is a bit of an odd one to get your head around. Both fresh and from the crazy brain of Eric Idle – though far from idol he is – Spamalot is a cipher of a show relying on two earlier shows that were indeed themselves both mockeries and sham-makers of two of the oldest tales in the world.
I don’t quite follow either, but I’m dying to find out!
We’ll of course have our fill as King Arthur runs about collecting his foolish but well-meaning Knights of the Round table, Sir Robin, the Lady Of The Lake, Sir Galahad, Sir Bedevere, plus the savage Frenchmen, killer rabbits, minstrels and showgirls. All, played without the doubt the professionalism we’ve all come to expect from Ulster’s longest living amateur theatre company. Last, and first, time I saw them I couldn’t believe they were amateurs at all.
As well as the 30 or so thunderous musicians in the pit, we have Idle’s songs: ‘Always Look On The Bright Side of Life’, ‘Knights Of The Round Table’ along with whatever other mad little ditties have moved Idle’s funny bone will undoubtedly leave viewers in stitches. Gracing the boards as lead characters this October are: Ross Chambers; Jamie Johnston; Ciara Mackey; Colin Boyd; Paddy Maggenity; Jordan Walsh and Brian Trainor. I haven’t, if memory serves, heard of any of them myself, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. If they’re good enough for the Ulster operatic Company and the GOH, they’re good enough to whet my mouth. Spamalot runs from 10 – 14 October for booking details visit www.goh.co.uk or phone the box office on 02890 241919.
By Conor O’Neill