Monty Python's affectionate rip off of their movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
4/27 and 28, 2011 at 8 pm
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.
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.
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.