It takes some daring on the part of a community theater to tackle a musical in which a character mockingly describes Broadway actors as "people who can sing and dance … often at the same time."
But the Moonlight Players have given their all in staging "Spamalot," a 2004 Broadway hit based on the "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" cult comedy film. The Players are the first local troupe to take on the silliness of "Spamalot" — a tall order with its catapulting cow, vicious bunny rabbit and the hand of God himself. Technically, it's a whirlwind of wigs, props and quick costume changes — costumer Diana Whaler-White's never-ending parade of goofily fun outfits is a show in itself.
Under the direction of Tom Kline, all of these staging requirements creatively mesh for an entertaining show that's full of the offbeat Monty Python spirit. And though the flaws are evident, they are mostly forgivable in "Spamalot," which should feel a bit ramshackle. At one point the show's characters mockingly praise their "expensive" forest scenery — in front of a few cardboard trees.
Theatrical jokes and general nonsense are the hallmarks of "Spamalot," which parodies the legend of King Arthur and his knights: Sir Lancelot, a he-man with personal issues; scaredy-pants Sir Robin; and Sir Galahad, a class-conscious orator who is very proud of his name. (It's Dennis, by the way. Sir Dennis Galahad.)
Along with Arthur's put-upon squire, Patsy (James Canavan, very funny in his patheticness), the men set off on a holy quest. Aiding them, when she's not cursing her luck, is the Lady in the Lake.
Andre Provencher, as King Arthur, is nicely grounded as the straight man to much of the nonsense. He also has clear diction and strong projection, qualities not found in all of his castmates. Some struggle to be heard over the recorded musical accompaniment.
Noel Marie Berkofsky, as the brassy Lady in the Lake, doesn't have that problem. She's very funny as she belts the "Diva's Lament," but she could take an even bigger, broader approach, as could her duet partner, Spencer Bullen as Galahad, during a too-subdued "The Song That Goes Like This." Parodying Andrew Lloyd Webber is no time for subtlety.
Ryan Mobley's Sir Lancelot isn't gruff enough at the start, which makes his later transformation less funny than it could be. But Mobley, with a square-jawed hero's demeanor, is most consistent at landing his jokes.
Robb Ross deserves his laughs as quivering Robin. But his big number "You Won't Succeed On Broadway," about Jews in show business, feels a little too inside-baseball this far from New York. (In fact, the song was reworked for the most recent production of "Spamalot" in London.)
That song, however, does provide a highly entertaining dance number. In fact, choreographer Rosemary DeMott's inventive and creative stagings — Tap? Line dance? The Can-Can? — play a key role in keeping this big undertaking fizzing along.
• What: A Moonlight Players production of the Eric Idle-John Du Prez musical comedy
• Length: 2:15, including intermission
• When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 6
• Where: Moonlight Warehouse Theatre, 732 Montrose St., Clermont
• Cost: $15, $12 students
• Call: 352-319-1116
• Online: moonlightplayers.com