Friday, March 29, 2013


Book & Lyrics:   Eric Idle  

Music:  John Du Prez & Eric Idle
VenueBuell TheaterDenver Center for the Performing Arts, 950 13th Street, Denver Colorado
Running Time:  2 hours, 15 minutes (includes 15 minute intermission)

I was never a big fan of Monty Python.  I had a chance to see Spamalot at the Denver Center the last time it played Denver, but I turned it down.  It was an expensive evening out that I didn't think I'd enjoy very much.

That's a mistake I will NOT make again.  It turns out that you don't have to be a Python fan to appreciate the comic genius that is Spamalot.
The current touring production is in Denver for a very brief run (March 28-30), again at the Buell Theater.  Opening night was a nearly full house, and the audience was fully engaged from the opening note of the overture.
If you haven't seen Spamalot, you don't have to worry about any spoilers ahead.  The script is, to be delicate, not exactly a detailed, historically accurate story about Camelot.  It's impossible to spoil the plot, which is loosely based on a search for the "Holy Grail."  

The story (and that may be a generous characterization) is strictly a vehicle for the humor.  If you're a Python fan, the humor is what matters, and here it runs the gamut from pratfalls to sight gags; from flatulence jokes to bad puns ("alms for the poor" is unforgettable).  This touring production is spectacular; it even includes a Las Vegas style dancing and singing extravaganza ("what happens in Camelot stays in Camelot").  The choreography and music are splendidly executed, even as they sometimes skewer the very Broadway genre we are seeing ("The Song That Goes Like This" and "The Diva's Lament").  If you don't leave the theater humming "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," check your pulse.  You may need medical attention.
If there's a message for us in Spamalot (and I think there is), it's to find your place in the world:
"When your life seems to drift
When we all need a lift
Trim your sail
You won't fail
Find your Grail, Find your Grail"
Good advice, delivered with heart and humor.  
Spamalot is, at its heart, an exquisite satire, giving us caricatures of British history, French rudeness, frolicking Finns, Jewish producers/performers, and most importantly, a stinging indictment of Broadway theater "entertainment."  It's all in good fun, of course, especially if your favorite ox is not being gored.
If you're looking for your own Holy Grail, Spamalot is a great start for your quest.  

This show runs through March 30, 2013. Suitable for tweens and up.  

Director:  Mike Nichols, recreated by BT McNicholl
Scenic Design:  James Kronzer
Choreography:  Casey Nicholaw, recreated by Scott Taylor
Sound Design:  Craig Cassidy
Lighting Design:  Mike Baldassari

Cast (main characters):
King Arthur:  Arthur Rowan
Sir Lancelot:  Adam Grabau
Sir Dennis Galahad:  Joshua Taylor Hamilton
Lady of the Lake:  Abigail Raye