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‘Spamalot’ production sparkles

Show is a rather different play on Medieval themes

Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus opened its current musical, “Spamalot,” on May 10 at the Omak Performing Arts Center with a sparkling presentation.

“Spamalot” is a rather different play on old Medieval themes.

As do most books, plays, operas and other presentations, the first act or few chapters were devoted to setting the scene, characters, situations, locale and the general ambiance of the whole thing. In succeeding acts/chapters, action takes place.

The story here was of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

Occasionally the score picked up a familiar strain of music and incorporated it into the whole, and “Here Comes the Bride” (thank you, Felix Mendelssohn), was one such. There were others.

But the impressive thing about this show was the sparkling presentation the group gave it.

The dances were crisp and lively. The cues were picked up instantly and smoothly, the costumes were appropriate, and the script was crisp, clean and so funny it kept the audience laughing much of the way through.

The singing was very good.

Microphones kept the sound clearly audible, even though the cast used several different English accents (including cockney). There could be no excuse of not being able to hear them.

I can’t recall any show that had as many and varied lighting changes, and much use was made of vertical drops, which were raised and lowered for changing scenes, all very smoothly done. I think they even produced a thunderstorm, complete with lightning, at one point.

The clever sets were historically accurate and used two basic towers, left and right, which could anchor several scenes.

The props people were busy, too. At one point there was a sword fight that produced two of the most fearsomely long swords I had ever seen. And the women were dressed in the diaphanous gowns and conical hats that were a mark of the era.

The orchestra was as full as I can recall for some time, and conductor Don Pearce had his forces in a good, clean ensemble.

Both chorus and orchestra performed through the curtain calls, something I had not heard before.

The sizeable program books were very well done, and it was a happy thought to include biographies of the participants, both on and off stage.

Some of those dates will change with passing time, but the information makes the books keepers, something people can refer to again and again. It was interesting to note the number of years some of these people have been active in this enterprise.

And it was good to see how well the local business houses supported the books with advertising.

In sum, it is a community enterprise, and one of which all participants can be satisfied and proud.

Elizabeth Widel is a columnist and reviewer for The Chronicle. She can be reached at 509-826-1110.

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