On a recent trip to New York City, I was able to take in "Spamalot", the Monty Python Broadway show that took home the 2005 Tony Award for Best musical. Despite being listed as sold-out for months on end, my spidey sense told me to check the online ticket site a few days before the show, and the Spam was with me as I landed a front row center seat in the mezzanine for the show.
"Spamalot" loosely follows the storyline of the "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" movie with a few "Life of Brian" bits thrown in. Fans of the films will know the material is good hands starting with the adaptation written by Eric Idle, and carrying on to the Broadway performers, who appear to have memorized every detail and nuance from the silver screen and delivered it with perfect timing on stage.
And while the recreated scenes such as 'The Knights who say Ni' and the 'Bring out your dead' bits are as funny live as they were on-screen, "Spamalot" shines the brightest when it pokes fun at its life on Broadway, ripping into the theater world in a manner that only a Monty Python production can pull off.
With a budget that dwarfs the cost to make the original motion picture, "Spamalot" plays at times like an act on the Vegas strip, with enough blinking lights and showgirls to blind the closest patrons. The lavish sets capture the look and feel of Terry Gilliam's cut and paste animation from the TV show. God appears through the recorded voice of John Cleese of course and animated segments transitions scenes together and helps close Act One as the Knights run away from the catapulted nonsense coming from the taunting Frenchmen.
The "Spamalot" cast will be changing soon, and I feel fortunate to have caught a performance with Tim Curry having the time of his life as King Arthur and David Hyde Pierce who matches his understated comedy with his singing voice as Sir Robin, a cowardly knight on the quest for the Holy Grail. Hank Azaria returns in early December a few weeks before the departure of Tim Curry and the Sara Ramirez who plays the seductive lady in the lake.
The lessons learned is that if you have a little faith you can find your grail, even if it comes in the form of a ticket to a spectacular display of all things Monty Python. Seek out this show that is thy quest, and be not deterred by the sold out sign at the door.
Stocking up my Spam for the holidays, For movie magazine, this is Purple.
© 2006 - Purple - Air Date: 11/23/05
USA / UK - 2005