STAGE REVIEW: Spamalot - at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, from Tuesday, March 6 to Saturday, March 10, 2018.

BONKERS, barmy, even a dash bawdy… but at all times brilliantly entertaining.

This crazy musical is based on the quest for the Holy Grail but even if King Arthur and his knights can’t directly lay their hands on this most priceless of relics, the show has certainly grabbed and put on public display all the best of oddball British humour from first to last curtain.

Concerns that the lack of a real star name might impact on the attendance proved completely unfounded. Such is the show’s reputation there was a hardly a seat to spare and the audience’s anticipation was totally fulfilled.

Described as the musical lovingly ripped off from the 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot thrusts a mocking finger firmly into the midriff of all musicals - totally tongue-in-cheek, a tad over-the-top and a damn good spoof. And this was never more evident than when the cast belted out The Song That Goes Like This.

Based on Eric Idle’s book, his splendidly bizarre sense of humour is quickly evident and pervades every wonderful corner of this wander through slapstick, classic one-liners and comic routines all delivered by a cast on top form - evidently enjoying performing and lapping up plenty of audience participation.

From the outset of a Fisch Schlapping Dance, followed by farting French soldiers and oodles of local mentions - together with a bang-up-to-date script - make this a memorable and quirky musical.

Bob Harms’ arrival as King Arthur on an invisible horse, accompanied by faithful retainer Patsy (Rhys Owen), with coconut shells, lead the way and never once need reining in!

They ‘clatter’ their way through a variety of madcap adventures with superb support from Sarah Harlington, the Lady of the Lake with a great voice, and Arthur’s motley band of medieval knights. Swords raised here to Norton James (Sir Galahad), Johnathan Tweedie (Sir Lancelot) and others.

It’s all very silly, considerably creative and could make a perfect panto with a few adjustments for both an adult or/and family audience.

The ‘Knights who say Ni’, the Black Knight who loses both ams and legs in combat but insists they’re only flesh wounds and insists - ‘we’ll call it a draw’, to tales of love, with one liaison really camped up, all keep the pot boiling.

Monty Python fans will adore it and so will anyone who enjoys surreal and absurd comedy.

Over the top? You haven’t seen anything yet until you ‘look on the bright side of life’ and enjoy a tin of spam…

Rivetingly barking!