Comedy's Holy Grail found in Havre de Grace

Where can you watch King Arthur ride regally on an imaginary horse to the beat of two coconut shells? Or see a cow catapulted? Or a Trojan rabbit? Only in "Spamalot," the musical based on the cult movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Zany and over-the-top, "Spamalot," as directed by Laurie Starkey of Tidewater Players, offers a lot of laughs and surprises... and even a tap number. Book and lyrics are by Eric Idle, with music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle.

Audiences can watch first-hand as Arthur searches for knights to sit at his round table upstairs at 121 N. Union Ave. in Havre de Grace. Performances are weekends from April 25 through May 18. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. All seats are $18. Visit or call 410-939-8433.

A lifelong Monty Python fan, Todd Starkey (Arthur) said he always knew that when the show was available, he would be part of it.

"Arthur is the straight man," said the Aberdeen man. "All the craziness is from the characters around him. Arthur does his best to keep order and chivalry among his men – and the peasants, too."

Arthur's faithful servant, Patsy, he of the two coconut shells, is played with style by Robert Bupp of Churchville, who also plays the Finnish Mayor (you'll have to see the show to understand why Finland is involved). Eileen Aubele, who played femme fatale Lucy in Tidewater's "Avenue Q" last season, is the Lady of the Lake, who gave Arthur Excalibur, the sword that makes him King of the Britons.

The knights of the Round Table are an odd bunch, some of whom play several roles.

Dickie Mahoney, who also choreographs the show, plays The Black Knight and Prince Herbert's father as well as Sir Galahad.

"Galahad is dashing and good looking – typecasting," the sturdy Bel Air man said with a smile, "but he's really a mama's boy."

Chris Cahill, of Aberdeen, plays Sir Bedevere (described as The Strangely Flatulent), as well as Galahad's mother and Lancelot's valet.

Steve Flickinger, of Forest Hill, plays Lancelot, as well as Tim the Enchanter, a French Taunter and the head of the Knights That Say Ni.

"Lancelot likes to think of himself as a manly man, but he is more in touch with his softer side," Flickinger said.

Mark Briner plays a guard and Brother Maynard as well as Sir Robin.

"Robin wants to be a knight in theory, but he is slightly on the cowardly side. He will run away in battle, and he's a little dim," he said.

Rob Tucker, of Belcamp, plays the Historian, Not Dead Fred, Robin's lead minstrel and Prince Herbert.

Other members of the versatile ensemble are Rondez Green, Mark Gallihue, Emil Brandau, Stanton Zacker, Joe Weinehofer, Suzi Hasselbusch, Samantha Murray, Carissa Lagano and Judy Scott.

Never fear. Despite high camp and comedy, the Holy Grail will be found at each performance… and in a most unlikely place.

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