Josh Wilhoit, King Arthur in Village Repertory Theatre's Spamalot has a confession. He didn't want to audition for the production. "I was worried. It's a monumental undertaking," he says of the show that was a Tony Award-winning hit on Broadway. With huge sets, big brassy music, and challenging dance numbers, Wilhoit wasn't sure a local company could pull it off. But once he knew Keely Enright would direct and Laura Ball had signed on to lead the music, Wilhoit found himself donning a crown and putting on tights.
"It is absolutely the funniest show in town. It's hilarious. It's silly. It's the biggest show that Village Rep has ever done," he says.
At it's core Spamalot is a simple tale about a man in search of a grail. At its most audacious, it's a musical retelling of Monty Python and the Holy Grail complete with lampoons of Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and Bob Fosse-style choreography thrown in for good measure. But you don't have to be a Monty Python fan to enjoy it, at least according Wilhoit. "It's completely approachable. There's jokes — some you will catch if you're a musical theater fan, others if you're a Python fan, but there's something for everyone."
The show begins with Arthur rounding up his Knights of the Round Table in Camelot — a sort of anachronistic Vegas — when God appears to him in the form of Eric Idle's voice and tells the king to go on a quest for the Holy Grail. ("The show just got a Twitter shout out from the real Eric Idle by the way," says to Wilhoit. Not bad for a local production in lil' ol' South Carolina.)
Wilhoit continues, "Arthur goes about his quest and during it, his knights get split up and lost in a dark and very expensive forest. They come across different challenges and all the lovable characters from the movie are there: Sir Galahad, the brave Sir Lancelot, the not-so-brave Sir Robin." From there, foibles ensue with additional cameos from the Lady of the Lake and her Laker Girls, as well as musical numbers like "Find Your Grail" and, of course, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
But since it's nearly impossible to describe "funny," we thought we'd just ask Wilhoit for a top five list of things that make Spamalot worth seeing. In no special order, he says:
3. A large wooden rabbit
2. Prominent Charlestonians such as Joseph P. Riley, Shep from Southern Charm, or Mark Bryan
1. Men in tights. Sparkly tights
Count us in. We're suckers for sparkles. —Kinsey Gidick