‘Find Your Grail’ in Maple Ridge

Odeum Theatre stages Monty Python’s Spamalot at the ACT

Trevor Mcdonnell and Alex Shankland in Spamalot

Trevor Mcdonnell and Alex Shankland in Spamalot

Just like King Arthur in the musical Spamalot, these days Rayne Beveridge has been making sure the brighter side of life is in view these days.

As he wrangles 40 singers and musicians for his latest production, he admits – he sometimes gets overwhelmed. Staging a Broadway musical in two weeks is ambitious.

“This is the best cast I’ve ever worked with,” says Beveridge of Odeum Theatre, which opens the outrageous, hilarious, Tony Award-winning comedy at the ACT on Friday.

Monty Python’s Spamalot recounts the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail, featuring a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits, and an armless and legless knight.

“I actually find the musical funnier than the movie,” says Beveridge.

“Having the music adds a lot of it, I think it just works really well on stage.”

Beveridge seized the opportunity to stage Spamalot when it opened to amateur release last September. It was his way to “push the boundaries” of amateur theatre locally, challenge aspiring thespians.

“Maple Ridge already has a thriving dance culture, and successful theatre and performing arts community organizations producing outstanding amateur performances, all of whom attract thousands of patrons every year.  That’s what I saw when I moved here four years ago.  I knew that here, of all places, I could do outstanding things in the arts community,” says Beveridge.

Since Odeum Theatre staged its first production, Beveridge has added an full orchestra to its artistic complement.

“My goal as an educator is, and has always been, to push the degree of excellence and accessibility in the projects I develop, and Maple Ridge became the perfect setting to make my vision a reality,” he says.

Beveridge, along with Odeum’s dance choreographer Kayla Cameron and musical director Clark Schaufele,, have been putting the cast and musicians through rigourous rehearsals which began just two weeks ago.

He says the cast memorized the entire musical by Monday and began perfecting it this week.

“They can essentially perform it tomorrow,” said Beveridge on Monday when he began to tweak the harmonies and make sure jokes were timed just right.

“The difference between a good show and a great show is in the details.”

Monty Python’s Spamalot plays Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25 at the ACT. Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 in advance. To purchase, call 604-476-2787 or visit actmapleridge.org.

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