MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT - REVIEW
For a Monty Python fan, the idea of a musical celebrating one of the iconic comedy group's finest achievements (Monty Python And The Holy Grail) was nothing short of spamgasmic.
In many ways, the marriage of Monty Python and musicals is a perfect one: the tackiness of some musicals crossed with The Pythons' bad taste humour promising a bit of a match made in heaven. That said, I'm not convinced that Holy Grail was the right musical to do.
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Spamalot. As silly as it was, there was a lot of good stuff there and it really was complete, glorious escapism: entertaining nonsense the whole way through. But even then I must admit that it is one hell of a hit-and-miss effort. The way I feel about it is that the best songs come from Eric Idle poking fun at Broadway musicals and most of the Holy Grail stuff falls flat either due to it being so familiar or it just not really working on stage. Sure hearing the Camelot song in a show is a treat but did we need a 6 minute-long extension of it going through 10 different styles of music? Probably not.
Spamalot really works as a Broadway spoof with The Lady Of The Lake (Sara Ramirez) easily stealing the show right from the terrific cast's noses. the goofy diva character is a spam-a-lot of fun and her songs are by far the sharpest and funniest. Ok, the Finland/Fisch-Schlapping Dance comes a close second...
Other best bits include David Hyde Pierce's You Won't Succeed On Broadway (genius), The Lady Of The Lake's The Song That Goes Like This (classic), The Diva's Lament (Whatever Happened To My Part?), Find Your Grail and Tim Curry's I'm All Alone. Eric Idle clearly had a spam-a-lot of fun writing these songs, and it shows. Probably because they were fresh and new, which is why I felt that an all-new Meaning Of Life-style collection of one-themed sketches and tunes would have worked much better. Songs like I Am Not Dead Yet, His Name Is Lancelot feel tacked on and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, as good as it is, just feels awkward here.
Story-wise, it's pretty much key scenes of the film wrapped in a find-Broadway/The Holy Grail-plot with a different type of fourth-wall breaking ending. Frankly, it can get pretty messy. I mean, sometimes in a good way with the anarchic Monty Python-style of comedy running amok, as it should, on several song numbers but sometimes it just turns into kid-friendly panto, which is a bit of shame. I'm being harsh, that last part happens very rarely but still...
Anyway, for all its faults, Monty Python's Spamalot is, it should be underlined, one for the fans. And fans will most definitely have a ball. Yes The Meaning Of Life might have worked better as a musical and seeing the gang tackle a brand new adventure would have been awesome but for what it is, it's pretty irresistible and a fun show altogether.
I mean, who can resist Brave Sir Robin on stage?
A fool, that's who.
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