Sunday, 4 May 2014

CD Review: Spamalot UK Cast Album

“Now we can go straight into the middle eight”

Now that Spamalot has left the West End (again) (and may well pop up once again given its reliability as a stand-by for quickly vacated theatres), I thought I would give the soundtrack a listen, not least because it has languished on my hard-drive for a good couple of years now without me actually getting round to it. Recorded in 2010 at the Churchill Bromley, the album features the UK cast from that touring production of this Eric Idle and John Du Prez show.

It’s a live recording which means the first thing we hear is applause, something which annoys me disproportionately – why can’t, or don’t, they edit it out – as I don’t want to hear anything that isn’t the people on the stage. Likewise with the laughter throughout, I’m glad the audience were finding it funny but that’s not why people buy soundtracks, to hear others having a good time – is it too much to expect a recording unsullied by the great unwashed?!

Moaning aside, it is rather fun to listen to though. The carousing of the knights - Simon Lipkin’s Sir Galahad, Samuel Holmes’ Sir Robin, Graham Macduff’s Sir Lancelot, Robin Armstrong’s Sir Bedevere and David Langham’s Prince Herbert – is captured well, Marcus Brigstocke’s King Arthur plays off his comedic skills well and Todd Carty’s Patsy is certainly efficient. Jodie Prenger as the Lady of the Lake suffers a little in the translation onto disc, a little too brash and unsubtle instead of warmly funny.

So something of a curiosity rather than an essential addition to the CD library I think, but one worth investigating as you’re a fan of the show. The Original Broadway Cast recording may have much more showbiz pizazz but it also has none of the UK references in the songs that have been updated and there’s something pleasing about touring casts getting their chance to be immortalised on record alongside the usual original companies.

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