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Spamalot

By Paul Goldfinger, BF foreign correspondent

In 1975, a British comedy group called Monty Python made a hilarious movie called  Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In 2005, Eric Idle, one of the original Pythons, “ripped off” the 1975 version and made a musical comedy for Broadway called Spamalot . It became a winner of 3 Tonys including best musical.

The Broadway production gave 1500 performances and since then has been traveling around the world.  We saw it in Florida, and it was a riot.  If you get a chance to see it, be sure to go, especially if you like slapstick, zany humor.

Scene from Spamalot

Scene from Spamalot

The story is based loosely on King Arthur and his roundtable in medieval England.  Arthur gathers up some knights and goes on a search for the Holy Grail, which is the chalice that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper.  In one of the opening scenes, three monks in dreary hooded robes march on stage chanting and then hitting themselves in the forehead.  They are followed by some men who  are pulling a cart around town gathering up bodies—victims  of the plague.   They toss one of the bodies onto the pile, but he shocks everyone when he springs to life and sings this song. Then mayhem ensues.  Finally the new knights get to dance and sing. (when you hear instrumental lines, the dancers are on stage–what a treat!)

In this show they make fun of everyone:  English manners, lewd Frenchmen, Can Can girls, Broadway shows, chorus girls, insipid show tunes, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Gays, Jews and Christians. The scene where Arthur’s men lay seige to a French castle is one of the the funniest.   The Frenchmen on the parapets regale the proper Englishmen with all sorts of bawdy insults.  They even throw an entire cow over the edge to land on the Brits.  Another scene which I enjoyed was when Arthur and his men want to produce a Broadway show, but first they have to find some Jews to guarantee a success.  I wondered whether the Minnesotans in the audience would get that reference.

In this song and dance number, Sir Lancelot comes out of the closet:

If Spamalot is  not currently playing near you, at least rent the movie.

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