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A musical comedy "lovingly ripped off from" the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Spamlot: Run Away!!!!

  • Feb 24, 2010
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Let the hissing, taunting and cows start flying my way...because as much as I love musical theatre and musical theatre parody, and as much as I adore the Monty Python crew and the Holy Grail film, I walked away from Spamalot sorely disappointed. Maybe my standards were too high because I adore all of these things too much; the fact of the matter is that I simply expected more from this show.

The set was fantastical, the costumes fun and the actors a talented bunch, but the story and the score for this show were nowhere near strong-enough. I adore John DuPrez and Eric Idle, but think that for this project, they should have perhaps brought in a few Broadway pros to help them bring their lovely antics to the stage - because as we've seen with many many adaptations - what works on screen, does not always play well on stage. This isn't to say that the script/score was too small for a stage (could the Monty Python crew ever produce anything small?!) but rather, that in blowing it up for stage proportions, the characters lost a lot of what makes them lovable and funny - and simply became two-dementional charactures of the brillant originals.

The audience seemed to most enjoy the sections of the show which were taken directly from the movie (the french taunting scene and the knights who say "ni"). The added musical theatre bits, like Lancelot's YMC-gay number and self-reflecting musical theatre numbers like "You Won't Succeed on Broadway," failed completely. Unlike The Producers and Urinetown, shows whose sole purpose is  self-mockery, Spamalot acted like a split-personality patient - one minute doing a stage-version of the movie and the next attempting a witty musical about musicals. In the end, the show succeeded in neither arena, because it couldn't commit to one.

I so wanted this to be a brilliant production, and to this day can't understand how it beat out The Light in the Piazza, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for for the Best Musical Tony Award.
Spamlot: Run Away!!!! Spamlot: Run Away!!!! Spamlot: Run Away!!!! Spamlot: Run Away!!!!

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February 24, 2010
I saw this show last year on Broadway and loved it. I am sorry that the version that you saw wasn't up to par but it can be really good.
February 25, 2010
You obviously weren't the only one who enjoyed it given the number of awards it took home and the 1575 performances it played on Broadway. I really really wanted to like it... maybe I'm just too hardcore a Monty Python and musical theater fan.
February 24, 2010
As a Monty Python fan, lapsed perhaps, I've never had any desire to see this. Much of Eric Idle's recent output seems to have been naked attempts to cash in on the Python legacy. That he freely admits this may make a good joke, doesn't mean it's not a naked cash-in attempt.
More Spamalot reviews
review by . May 13, 2010
I really enjoyed this musical adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Having seen the original film when it came out and remembering many of the famous lines (I'm not dead yet, et al.) I looked forward to introducing my son to the craziness as we took in the Broadway show.  We weren't disappointed.  Though we did not have any of the original cast, the actors were able to pull off all the classic jokes with the same energy as Mssrs. Idle, Cleese, Palin, et al.    …
review by . December 05, 2008
At the risk of being lynched, I have to admit- I'm not Monty Python fan. British humor, in general, is more likely to annoy me than make me laugh. When people quote Monty movies I usually want to punch them in the face.  You'll understand my distress, then, when my free package to the Wynn included tickets to Spamalot rather than Le Reve. But I went- it was free, after all, and I was rather glad I did.  There are classic Monty Python quotes here and just enough nonsense to make …
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Valerie Rigsbee ()
Valerie Rigsbee is an actor, designer and webmaster currently based out of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.      She owns and operates, a directory … more
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Monty Python's Spamalot is a musical comedy "lovingly ripped off from" the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Like the film, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian Legend, but it differs from the film in many ways, especially in its parodies of Broadway theatre. Eric Idle, a member of the Monty Python team, wrote the musical's book and lyrics and collaborated with John Du Prez on most of the music.

Idle explained the title in a February 2004 press release:
    "I like the title Spamalot a lot. We tested it with audiences on my recent US tour and they liked it as much as I did, which is gratifying. After all, they are the ones who will be paying Broadway prices to see the show. It comes from a line in the movie which goes: "we eat ham, and jam and Spam a lot."
The original 2005 Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season and received 14 Tony Award nominations. During its initial run of over 1500 performances it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million.


Before the play
A recording encourages members of the audience to "let your cellphones and pagers ring willy-nilly," and comments that they should "be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you."

Act I

An historian gives a brief overview of medieval England. An ...
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