Don’t bother with Spamalot

About a year and a half ago, my wife and I attended a performance of Spamalot, the Eric Idle musical based on the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, at the National Theatre. It returns to Washington in December, but take my advice and don’t bother seeing it.

I fairly had high expectations for Spamalot, I figured it would make me laugh until I hurt or bore me to sleep — nothing in between. Neither of those things happened, it was decidedly in the middle. Instead of being atrocious or hysterical, it was merely amusing. The jokes and pacing were clearly written for an audience that was unaccustomed to Python, so the sheer absurdity is lost.

For the uninitiated, the story has King Arthur recruiting knights to join his roundtable and go find the holy grail. Along the way there are incidents and accidents that result in singing and silliness. There are plenty of nods to Broadway, seemingly a requirement for any stage comedy, and a rousing performance of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” which was actually from the movie Life of Brian. Otherwise, the show is just mildly entertaining.

Instead of dropping $40 or more a ticket, my recommendation is to go and rent Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the even better Life of Brian if you are looking for a Python fix.

4 Comments so far

  1. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on November 28th, 2007 @ 9:48 am

    Thanks for this warning. Sure as anything, my wife, a die-hard Python fan, will want to go. Now I can point her this way.

  2. Kat (unregistered) on November 28th, 2007 @ 11:19 am

    I saw Spamalot in NYC and enjoyed it. I’m not a diehard Monty Python fan so maybe my expectations were not as high as yours.

    If you want to see Monty Python in a bigger screen than your tv AFI will be showing the films from December 28 – January 7:

  3. darpino (unregistered) on November 28th, 2007 @ 11:56 am

    I agree the humor is missing a few of its sharp teeth, but I still think it is an enjoyable show. My wife and I, took her Python worshipping father to it last run and he loved it.

  4. JohnnyNVA (unregistered) on November 28th, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

    Actually I saw it last year and had a great time. And I would definitely fall into the die-hard Python fan area. The humor was different in some areas but it was still fun and slightly outlandish. My problem is I kept having to stop myself from singing along since the non-pythoners with me would start staring.

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