Armidale Drama and Musical Society presents classic Monty Python humour - with a twist

PATHOLOGIST by day, director by night – theatre veteran Neil Horton presents Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Involved in theatre for more than 35 years, Mr Horton has produced Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables and more.

“I just love the whole idea of a theatre, and if I was brave enough to make a living out of it I would be trying to do that,” Mr Horton said.

“I do enjoy the medical side as much as doing this as a hobby and my long-suffering wife is a testament to that.

“It’s always been something I was passionate about.”

CENTRE STAGE: The Monty Python Spamalot band of merry minstrels. The British comedy performance is directed by veteran Neil Horton.

CENTRE STAGE: The Monty Python Spamalot band of merry minstrels. The British comedy performance is directed by veteran Neil Horton.

Set in medieval England, the play follows the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as they search for the Holy Grail.

The production is one Mr Horton has been sitting on for the last eight years.

Refusing to watch the movie until the play hit rehearsals, he said he wanted to bring his own ideas to the performance.

“This show has so much appeal because it’s so much fun, it’s silly, it’s nonsense really,” he said.

“Surprisingly the show is quite close to the movie, it goes off in tangents but it’s a lot of fun.”

Presented by the Armidale Drama and Musical Society, Mr Horton said he prefers the challenge of working in community theatre.

With new talent on the stage and a committed crew, Mr Horton said everyone that auditioned found a role in the play.

“It’s like herding cats,” he said.

“You’ve got 30 people out there that you’re trying to wrangle into some sort of shape that looks appealing to an audience.

“But, I think if you’ve got the passion and you’ve done your homework, which might mean hours in front of the computer, if you can articulate that to the cast they certainly get into the swing of it.”

The production has been fourteen weeks in the making, with everything from costumes, to sets, to rehearsals.

The music differs slightly from the traditional tunes of John Du Prez and Eric Idle, and is musically directed by Stuart Pavel.

Mr Horton said audiences can expect something reasonably close to the movie – with some twists.

“It’s got the classic Monty Python skits and sketches, it’s a very funny, silly show I suppose.

“There’s some great tunes, they’re all very clever, witty lyrics and really catchy tunes.

“Apart from the fun and the laughs, there’s some good songs and great set pieces we’ve choreographed.”

The sets are a cartoonish, two-dimensional style.

“We could be rehearsing every night if we wanted to,” Mr Horton said.

”It really is a passion – there’s no two-ways about it.”

SPAMALOT LEADS: Lady of the Lake played by Amy Roff and King Arthur played by Ewan Paterson in the Armidale Drama and Music Society Spamalot production.

SPAMALOT LEADS: Lady of the Lake played by Amy Roff and King Arthur played by Ewan Paterson in the Armidale Drama and Music Society Spamalot production.

A WORD WITH SIR LANCELOT:

STEPPING out in his first professional production, actor Jake Hunt is bringing raw talent to the role of Sir Lancelot.

“He’s a brute really, a homicidal maniac when we first meet him,” Mr Hunt said.

“He wants to become a knight purely for the killing, but he finds his softer side as he goes through the journey searching for the Holy Grail with King Arthur.”

The Monty Python comedy Spamalot is being produced by Armidale Drama and Music Society.

It’s also one of Mr Hunt’s favourite comedy series.

“I studied drama all the way through school, it’s something I’ve always had a passion for and when Monty Python came up I saw it as an opportunity I had to pounce on,” he said.

“I play a really transformative role.

“I go from playing an ugly murderer to something totally different – it’s very interesting to experiment with my range and figure out how to play such a different Lancelot at different points in the play.”

A community theatre production, there is an onus on actors to do their own character research.

Mr Hunt said for him, acting is five per cent stage work and 95 per cent researching source material.

“I think the most important thing is to really look into the meaning of what is said,” he said.

“If you try to say a line and you miss the meaning of what’s said it’s going to fly over the audience’s head as well – you’re not going to say it right. 

“You’re not going to express what’s really going on and you’re going to be flat.”

Determination is one of the characteristics Mr Hunt feels he shares with his character.

“Lancelot is the kind of person who wants to go out there and be the hero,” he said.

“That’s the whole reason he signs up with King Arthur in the first place, he wants to go out there and get it done.

“That’s my approach, I want to go out there and get it done – I think that’s the extent of what I share with Lancelot.

“At least I hope it is.”

Mr Hunt said he has enjoyed working with a committed crew.

“It’s got the experience and talent of a professional production,” he said.

Showtimes:

Thursday 29 June 2017 8:00 PM

Friday 30 June 2017 8:00 PM

Thursday 6 July 2017 8:00 PM

Friday 7 July 2017 8:00 PM

Saturday 8 July 2017 8:00 PM

Sunday 9 July 2017 2:00 PM

Thursday 13 July 2017 8:00 PM

Friday 14 July 2017 8:00 PM

Saturday 15 July 2017 2:00 PM

Saturday 15 July 2017 8:00 PM

Tickets are available from adms.org.au.

Cost is $32 for adults, $27 for seniors and students and $22 for children.

All performances are at The Armidale School Hoskins Centre.

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