Last night I saw East High’s production of Spamalot. I have to admit that going in I was a bit reluctant. With only a few short weeks before I move to the west coast, it’s hard to spare a Friday night away from friends. I’m highly aware how student productions usually go… I was in high school drama, I was in college drama, I spent my summers away at theatre camp… You have a lot of fun, pour your heart into it, and in the end your family and friends tell you how good you were (even if you weren’t).
I spent my youth / young adult life in theatre… My mom was a dancer and my dad put me in front of countless broadway stages. I can say with some authority that this production of Spamalot was one of the best student performances I have ever seen. Spamalot is hilarious but it’s a no-joke production of details that takes a ton of talent to pull off well. This production is worth quadruple the ticket price.
The cast was simply amazing for a high school production (they’d be amazing for a college production for that matter). From Ben Young’s hilarious King Arthur, and Ben Conway’s loveable Sir Galahad, to Galahad’s Mother, Brianna Canale and Arthur’s Patsy, Sarah Koralewski, I was blown away by the quality performances. If you’ve seen this production, you’ll know already that Cara Bender as Lady of the Lake has a serious set of pipes. I hate calling out just a few people when the entire cast was so great – OK maybe a couple more: Connor Campbell, you were spot on as Tim the Enchanter. Brian Bates did a fantastic French Taunter. The entire cast deserves to be mentioned by name, and I’m not just saying that to be nice… I would’ve loved to have written about how hilariously terrible it was if that were the case.
I have to mention the spectacular choreography. Even the best student productions are usually plagued by coordinating a large chorus of untrained dancers. The only plague here was completely intentional. There were some amazingly talented girls and guys that obviously had prior training. These lead dancers gave the show a gloss that made the entire production feel professional. The choreographers Isaac & Val Campbell pulled off amazing feats working with such a large cast.
The direction, set design, costumes, and live orchestra were all done with great care. I really can not stress enough how difficult it must have been to bring it all together. Maybe I’m just emotional in anticipation of my move to the other side of the country, but I’m seriously in tears right now thinking about how I’m leaving a community that can pull something like this off. Lastly, I’m proud of this drama department to have taken a risk with this show (the shout out to Margaret Sanger made me happy). I hope this production slapped a few people across the head with the most hilariously flacid of herrings.