The Ahmanson Theatre begins its 43rd season of bringing the finest entertainment to the Los Angeles area with the 2005 Tony Award Winning Musical, Monty Python's Spamalot, book and lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle.
My date said it was the best show he had ever seen. In fariness, I should mention he has beena fan shince he was a kid. What I knew about Monty Python was genreal at best: That they are a comedy troupe from England; a kind of cross between the classic vaudeville and live action South Park before there even was South Park. Irreverent and silly and clever and crass, always with a healthy dab of social/political/cultural commentary thrown in. MOnty Python is basically a comedy institution. Hence, Spamalot, “the musical lovingly ripped off” from the cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail had an exceedingly high bar to reach and easily delivers on all fronts.
King Arthur ( John O’Hurley) arrives in a modest village looking to recruit men to become Knights of his roundtable. Accompanied by his man Patsy ( Jeff Dumas), He learns the task of finding willing men is not as simply as he thought, but he continues his research diligently.
Dead collectors Lancelot ( Rick Holmes) and Robin ( James Beaman) hear of the King who is “riding” about the countryside looking for men and decide it is much better that carting dead bodies around all day. Galahad ( Ben Davis), slightly obsessed with the democratic process resists the idea that Arthur is his King and requires a bit more convincing. So King Arthur summons the person who presented him with the might sword Excaliber, the super diva, Lady of the Lake ( Merle Dandridge). Lastly joined by Sir Bedevere, a man of great ingenuity and flatulence, the knights of the round table are assembled. And the first thing they do as a unit that symbolized honor and goodness: go to Camelot ( because what happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot).
The party rages until God comes down and gives the knights a quest: Find the Holy Grail. Tasked with their first quest, King Arthur and his men venture forth, all over the world, in search of the prized item. However, their quest serves to prove how unprepared the group actually are for adversity, much less a quest of any kind. By the end of Act One, the knights find themselves scatter and dissembled by a village of verbally vicious, cow-flinging French people.
This production is a blast. The silliness is both simplistic and classic comedic gold. From the first number, where the story’s narrator is misunderstood, thus producing an all-out full costumed song and dance number in homage to Finland (not England), Spamalot throws everything, including the kitchen sink, at each and every musical number: Lights, choreography, scantily clad girls and extremely clever and fun lyrics. Perhaps my favorite element of the show is the element of self-mockery, conveyed principally by the Lady of the Lake, the character that knows she is in a Broadway play.
Just like in the motion picture
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, many of the cast perform multiple role, melding in and out of a tireless company that gave unabashedly big and brilliant performances. If you are a devout fan of
Monty Python or if you are just visiting, there is something for everyone. You will laugh out loud and blush at the bawdiness and have a spectacular time. This production makes sure of it. Well Done.
Monty Python's Spamalot opens July 7, 2009 and runs through september 6, 2009 at:
at the Music Center
downtown Los Angeles
135 N. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
For Ticket Information call: 213-628-2772
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus