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Roger Bacon High School's SPAMALOT (SCHOOL EDITION)

“The ensemble of Roger Bacon’s Spamalot School Edition singing “Knights of the Round Table””  Photo courtesy of RB student, Cecilia Rice Publicity Crew.

Review by Ashlyn Fuhrmann, William Henry Harrison High School Critic Team

Coconuts, shrubberies, and… Spam! This and so much more was found in Roger Bacon High School’shilarious production of Spamalot: School Edition.

Based on the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the story of King Arthur and the Knights of Camelot in a lively new way, filled with comedy and well-known Monty Python sketches such as coconuts as horses and gender-swapped characters. Originally opening on Broadway in 2005 and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical, Spamalot has become a classic satirical musical winning the hearts of Monty Python fans and brand-new audience members alike.

Roger Bacon High School’s production of Spamalot magnificently executed the witty humor and improvisational demands of this show. The intricate costuming, as well as the cast’s natural ability to involve the audience, resulted in a wacky and entertaining performance.

Trevor Hatfield expertly portrayed the cunning, yet occasionally dim-witted, King Arthur. From his search for knights gone wrong to his over-the-top plea for sympathy in “I’m All Alone,” Hatfield never failed to highlight the true self-centered nature of King Arthur while simultaneously bringing a layer of comedy to each scene. And the person making all of this possible for King Arthur was The Lady of the Lake, played by Jackie Merz. As she whimsically descended the staircase, Merz,was continuously a showstopper with her powerhouse vocals in songs such as “Come with Me” and “Whatever Happened to my Part.”

And of course, you can’t have the Knights of the Round Table without the knights: Sir Robin (Conner Beierle), Sir Lancelot (Alex Navarro), Sir Dennis Galahad (Ray Huffman), and Sir Bedevere (Josh Blank). The four had impeccable chemistry, and their ability to interact and improvise gave the production a new feel for a show that’s been around for nearly twenty years. Particularly in the song “Knights of the Round Table,” the four were portrayed partying and having a good time in the Las Vegas-styled Camelot. Additionally, their interactions with the audience and excellent comedic timing only added to this already delightful performance.

Continuing to bring the absurdity of this show to life were Jacob Burdett’s lyrics for the song “You Won’t Succeed in Showbiz.” Updating the lyrics of the song to remain relevant to current audiences resulted in a performance of comedic gold, bringing up iconic themes such as pop stars and social media memes. Additionally, Amanda Penson, Sydney Flowers, and crew’s stunning costuming elevated the production with The Lady of the Lake entering in a different flowy gown, including a plethora of greens and blues from scene to scene.

This show is a challenge with its need for perfect comedic timing and beautiful costume designs, but Roger Bacon High School continued to “Succeed in Showbiz” and left the audience shouting, “Hip, Hip, Huzzah!”

“Sophomore Jackie Merz’s Lady of the Lake wonders “What Ever Happened To Her Part” in Roger Bacon’s Spamalot School Edition.” Photo courtesy of RB student, Cecilia Rice Publicity Crew.

Review by Alexandra Hess, Campbell County Critic Team

Hear ye! Hear ye! By decree of thine king, thy common folk shall be beguiled by a tale of fearless courage, valiant heroism, and a whole lot of Spam! In the erstwhile kingdom of the early Britain, Roger Bacon High School’s production of Spamalot artfully revived this old English legend into an extraordinarily mystifying extravaganza.

Based on the 1975 film-comedy: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is an avant-garde parody of the original King Arthur stories popularized by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th-century. Created by Eric Idle, Spamalot cleverly retells the classic tales of the Knights of the Round Table through a high-spirited show filled with active dialogue and dynamic compositions.

The students at Roger Bacon skillfully utilized the complex technical and elaborate performance elements of this show to extend their production beyond the fourth wall. From the masterful execution of various dances, such as: jazz, tap, and can-can; to the quick problem-solving skills demonstrated by the crew, they displayed unquestionable professionalism and unrestrained creativity throughout the performance.

As the leader of the Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur, played by Trevor Hatfield, was a fundamental role to both the original story and its contemporary spoof. Hatfield’s exaggerated physicality and distinct facial expressions were undeniably entertaining and masterfully delivered in all his scenes, creating an enjoyable combination of the brave night and comical king. Jackie Merz portrayed Arthur’s love interest, The Lady of the Lake, and shined as the alluring mythical singer of Camelot. Her vocal control, ranging between a soulful belt and operatic whistle tones, was supported by her sensational acting choices to create an engaging and dynamic performance.

King Arthur’s fiercest comrades and closest friends, Sir. Robin (Connor Beierle), Sir. Lancelot (Alex Nauarro), Sir. Dennis Galahad (Ray Huffman), and Sir. Bedevere (Josh Blank), were the dynamic band of misfit knights that brought the comedy of this show to new heights. While simultaneously playing dispersed featured roles throughout the run of the show, these noble knights had impressive vocal inflation, demonstrating their keen ability in accent accentuation and diction execution, which brought more diversity to their plethora of characters. The powerful vocals from Huffman, the deep bass sound of Blank, as well as the comedic interactions of Nauarro and Beierle, gave the Round Table’s lionhearted heroes an assertive stage presence and compelling chemistry that stole the show.

This immersive experience was brought forth by the visionary crew at Roger Bacon. The special effects and technologies team (Jack Geers, Caden Broenner, and Boden Accurso) generated effects such as fog, live projections, and even God’s feet through the use of carefully selected images and tools which allowed them to create visual comedy on-stage. Led by Amanda Penson and Sydney Flowers, the costume crew handpicked a total of 144 costume pieces for this production. Their costumes were crucial to the differentiation between numerous characters and settings found in the show.

Roger Bacon High School’s historical comedy was truly the Holy Grailof theatrical productions. Their energetic performers and imaginative technicians entrancingly produced a magical show of knighthood, comedy, and Spam!

“The Knights of Roger Bacon’s Spamalot School Edition showing off the latest in modern warfare technology – The Wooden Rabbit.”  Photo courtesy of RB student, Cecilia Rice Publicity Crew.

Review by Madison Jacob, William Henry Harrison High School Critic Team

Wild quests, noble knights, adrenaline inducing action and gut-splitting humor were all tied up into one with Roger Bacon High School’s production of Spamalot: School Edition.

Spamalot is a humorous show based on the skits written by Monty Python, particularly their film Monty Python and The Holy Grail. With the book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, Spamalot is a delightful musical poking fun of King Arthur and his infamous Knights at the Round Table.

Roger Bacon’s Drama Guild did a fantastic job taking Spamalot and making it their very own, adding student-made fun bits and modern humor to best suit their audience. The actors all had intoxicating energy and physicality that drew in the audience and had them doubled over laughing, while the tech added impressive special effects and quick scene changes that strengthened the illusion and kept it going uninterrupted. Together these aspects combined to create a wonderful show that feeds one’s inner child.

King Arthur, as portrayed by Trevor Hatfield, is a goofy, over-dramatic man who is still quite lovable. Trevor Hatfield was so much fun to watch throughout the entire show, never failing to land a joke. Although, he wouldn’t have been half as funny without his loyal sidekick, Patsy. Audrey Raliegh had amazing physicality playing this overlooked servant, not once breaking character during the show. Jackie Merz, on the other hand, was never once overlooked during the show. Her beautiful costumes and powerful vocals as the Lady of the Lake were show-stopping and impossible ignore.

The Knights of the Round Table were quite an amazing ensemble, each one of them with their own personality and characterization and together they had amazing chemistry. Starting with Ray Huffman as Galahad, Huffman had amazing physical comedy and a beautiful voice that had the audience swooning. Next to him was Sir Robin played by Connor Beierle. Beierle was extremely comedic and charismatic throughout the show, his talent most showcased in song, "You Won’t Succeed in Show Biz." Alex Navarro also was a joy to watch, particularly with his amazing character voices and accents as he switched from role to role. Though none took on rolls quite as iconic as Josh Blank, as he played the Black Knight. His comedic timing and line delivery had the entire audience giggling with glee.

The entire production would not have been half as funny without the lyrical changes and creativity from student director Jacob Burdett. Though these changes could not have been appreciated without Roger Bacon’s incredibly talented marketing team. Cecilia Rice, Agatha Horstman, and Ruby Huffman worked to create personalized posters and creative programs that were in the form of an old English scroll. Even better, the special effect’s team, Jack Geers, Caden Broenner, and Boden Accurso, did a great job utilizing things like smoke machines and pully systems to encapsulate the audience.

Spamalot as performed by the Roger Bacon Drama Guild was so much fun to watch. From the tech to amazing comedic acting, the goofy show brought great joy to every soul in the audience.

“The Knights of the Round Table, in Roger Bacon’s Spamalot School Edition.”  Photo courtesy of RB student, Cecilia Rice Publicity Crew.

Excerpts From Other Top Reviews

"Detailed technical designs are a necessity in a large production like Spamalot, and the crews at Roger Bacon certainly delivered. Special Effects by Jack Geers and crew brought the show to life with colorful projections, fog machines, confetti canons, and items suspended from the ceiling. Anna Kenny’s lighting design was almost concert-like, with a rainbow of lights hitting the stage in some numbers. Costumes by Amanda Penson, Sydney Flowers, and crew featured an array of curated pieces, most notable including multiple handmade dresses and capes for the Lady of the Lake, who was seen in five different floor-length gowns throughout the show."

-Katie Berich, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team

"Alex Navarro, as another of the Knights, Sir Lancelot, depicted a multifaceted character who not only sought victory but yearned for a love of his own. Proving his innate aptitude for performance complexities; Navarro not only demonstrated comedic ability through spewing quick-witted insight and galloping to and from his conquests, but also a wholehearted character arc – discovering his belonging. Ray Huffman (Sir Dennis Galahad) proved his own belonging to the Knights through his show-stealing, majestic physicality and strong vocal performance. A glimmering illustration of The Lady of the Lake, from Jackie Merz, showcased both humorously dramatic cries throughout 'Whatever Happened to My Part,' as well as stunningly melodic harmonies. All eyes were on Merz each time the spotlight illuminated her assertive, yet ultimately darling, disposition."

-Helena Hennessy, Mercy McAuley High School Critic Team

"Props, designed by Kaylee McClain, Gabbier Terlinden, and Grace Wilson, added so much to the show, from the blow-up cow to the 3-D printed Holy Grail. They truly understood the nature of the show when taking on their task, adding a new laugh with every prop on their list. The lighting, designed by Anna Kenny and Crew, added drama and heightened the circumstances of the show further, overwhelming the senses in numbers like “Knights of the Round Table” as our heroes entered the Vegas-like Camelot."

-Emma Dalton, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team

"At the forefront of the troupe was Trevor Hatfield as the ridiculously pompous King Arthur. Hatfield brought laughter to the show from his first appearance on his invisible steed to his rendition of “I’m All Alone” at the end of the show. From regal physicality to spectacular bits, Hatfield anchored the company and provided a driving force to the show."

-Clark Sayre, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team

"Bringing a perfect blend of charm, wit, and musical talent to the role, Ray Huffman’s performance as Sir Dennis Galahad was a standout. His charismatic stage presence, strong vocals, and comedic timing added dimension and humor to the character. Alex Navarro’s portrayal of Sir Lancelot as well as the French Taunter, Knight of Ni, and Tim the Enchanter was a hilarious and dynamic performance, showcasing the actor's versatility in seamlessly transitioning between comedic characters each with a distinct identity."

-Marie Rainey, Ursuline Academy Critic Team

"Publicity (Cecilia Rice, Agatha Horstman, Ruby Huffman) filled the auditorium with excited patrons with their clever ideas. They filmed March Madness-themed videos with the cast and made creative Spamalot versions of posters for past shows to market to friends, family, and strangers alike. Special Effects (Jack Geers, Caden Broenner, Boden Accurso) created funny backdrop projections to enhance many scenes. In one scene, they used a stop-motion video to resemble the feet of God descending to Earth to give Arthur his quest, bringing even more comedy to the show."

-Ravyn Jones, William Mason High School Critic Team

"Spamalot at Roger Bacon High School presented a masterful production of professional technical elements, immersive scenery, and high level actors that showed themes of friendship and true love."

-Zack Simpson, Ryle High School Critic Team

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