Thursday, July 9, 2009

review - Spamalot

Monty Python's
book & lyrics by
Eric Idle
music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle
directed by Mike Nichols
Ahmanson Theatre
through September 6
Part Monty Python and the Holy Grail, part Mel Brooks' History of the World Part I, and Mel Brooks' The Producers all rolled into one, there is enough silliness here to make us forget we're in the midst of a recession. If lots of sight gags, double entendres, and grotesque/crass behavior are your tea cup - and I mean, NO plotline - then Spamalot is for you! I frankly think a little of it goes a long, long way, but, naturally, I cannot overlook the splendiferous production values and luscious cast.
John O'Hurley, straight from a two-year stint as King Arthur in Las Vegas, lends his tasty deadpan to a very merry band of knights in "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". Merle Dandridge, as The Lady of the Lake, is a sumptuous feast all by herself. And...what a range of vocal versatility! Others worthy of praise include Jeff Dumas as lovely Prince Herbert, Rick Holmes daunting - and gay!~ as Lancelot, Ben Davis, divinely self-absorbed as Sir Dennis Galahad, Christopher Gurr a hoot as his butch mother and kudos to the entire ensemble for some spectacular tap dancing, with nifty choreography from Casey Nicholaw, and for the nonstop merriment. Sets and costumes by Tim Hatley are colorful to look at, and Nichols' overall direction is a psychedelic knockout! I'm sure after all the heavy-handed plays he has directed over the last 40 some odd years, this project must have been a refreshingly fun
change of pace.
When I first saw a scene from the film Porky's Revenge, I quickly switched channels. I might have done the same for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, had I seen it. But, alas... there is humor in the lame - how can one not smile at the Black Knight and his flesh wounds! or howl at the Frenchmen and their copious farting or guffaw at the oversized RABBIT - and God knows, in this day and age, do we ever need to laugh!!
4 out of 5 stars


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