Give Now

‘Spamalot’: Not Quite Your Typical Musical

The far from idle Eric Idle mines his "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" for a Broadway spoof.


Photo: IU Auditoriuim

The cast gathers to celebrate.

Event Information


Monty Python's affectionate rip off of their movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

IU Auditorium

4/27 and 28, 2011 at 8 pm

Auditorium Box Office

Spamalot, now at the IU Auditorium, takes all the accomplished and captivating song and dance of a Broadway musical and delivers it with the off-kilter, critical tone of those wacky Brits from the Monty Python comedy troupe. The show is an affectionate rip-off of the cult movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Fans of the film will have the extra pleasure of seeing familiar skits in different settings with new casts and some different staging, but no one is left out of the fun.

Act I

Spamalot begins with a somewhat dry power point presentation on the British Isles in the Middle Ages. Then a brightly costumed Scandinavian village festival erupts onto the stage. All stops are pulled when the historian brusquely insists that he meant England, not Finland. If this isn’t enough to convince the audience that Spamalot isn’t quite the typical musical, the next scene — in which a cart of plague victims sing and dance their way through a rendition of the song “I Am Not Dead Yet” — certainly will.

The fast-paced first act continues with the appearance of the Lady of the Lake, accompanied by her pom-pom-swinging Laker Girls. The core group of Knights is recruited.  A couple of mock heroic songs are sung, followed by the classic, “The Song That Goes Like This.”  Things slow down a bit as a French castle is besieged — the defense is made up mostly by rude Gallic insults — but mayhem and the intermission arrive together.

Act II

The second act of Spamalot is, if anything, more packed than the first. The cheerful song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” nicely tempers a number of dreadful possibilities, while even more foreboding threats are made in “Brave Sir Robin.” The show-stopping number “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway If You Haven’t Any Jews” is a wild affair, with plenty of dancing. Curiously enough, the biggest laugh of Wednesday night was had when King Arthur’s squire confessed that he was Jewish, but had hesitated to mention it in the face of a heavily armed Christian.

The adventures continue as Lancelot sets out to rescue a trapped female maiden, but, on discovering instead a trapped young man, becomes enamored. The scene, complete with a very funny enraged father, ran a bit long, but it was worth it: The audience had a good laugh when the loving pair noted that their type of medieval liaison would continue to bother people for a thousand years.

The Last Hoorah

Every good Broadway musical must end with a happy conclusion; Spamalot does not disappoint. The sought-after grail is found…under seat D101. Arthur and the Lady of the Lake are married, and the whole cast dances and sings through a medley made up of all the show’s numbers. At curtain call, they lead a sing-along of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

Steven McCoy was delightfully bluff and slightly clueless as King Arthur. Glenn Giron was winsome as his much abused squire. Jacob Smith was funny as a candidate for knighthood who has severe political and social issues with the whole system of kingship. Martin Gloyer was a charmer as the sometimes brave Sir Robin. Caroline Bowman sang powerfully and with great variety as the mysterious and then quite human Lady of the Lake.

George Walker

While completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Theatre & Dance Stories

Theatre & Dance Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Harmonia Early Music

A Tribute To Margriet

Margriet with Sequentia

We’re paying tribute to “Margriet” Tindemans, an early music pioneer and “ferociously talented” medieval fiddle player who passed away December 31, 2014.

Read more »

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

More from Harmonia »