Columbia Entertainment Company has put on quite a few performances in the past year including Moonlight and Mangnolias and Young Frankenstein, but Monty Python’s Spamalot is their best and most entertaining production yet.
The more than 20-person cast kept the audience in stitches with their singing, dancing, farting and cross-dressing. Megan McNew‘s pipes and beauty were showcased as she played the Lady of the Lake. She belted out comical ballad after ballad and often overshadowed the chorus. She was well-matched with King Arthur, who was played by JJ Mursgrove. Musgrove has performed in numerous plays in Virginia and Georgia before moving to Columbia this past August to become the Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs.
But my personal favorites were Patsy and many lesser-known characters played by two talented actors, Derek Shoults and Don Otto. Patsy, King Arthur’s sidekick and trusty steed, or at least the sound effects of his trusty steed, was played by Phil Howard. According to the program, Howard is also the technical director and has been been performing and designing in various venues for more than 20 years. His facial expressions and perfected comedic timing kept me giggling the entire show.
Shoults played several roles as part of the ensemble, many of whom were female, as well as a Laker girl and the perfectly performed Head Knight Who Says Ni. The audience never quite knew when he’d appear, but his presence always drew out the loudest cackles. Spamalot is Shoults’ CEC debut and his first show in seven years. Otto’s French taunter was executed with hilarity; it was a far cry from his day job as Executive Director and General Counsel for the Missouri Funeral Directors Association and the Missouri Funeral Trust.
These are just a few of the faces from the Columbia thespian scene that are performing in the show that began on June 12 and will run until the June 29; check the CEC website for more info. Spamalot is the perfect way to spend a night out this month.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled “Spamalot.”