Spamalot in Vancouver: Spam ei kohtuullinen ajaksi email


I’ve been a Monty Python fan for years, and the thing that drew me in was Monty Python and the Holy Grail [wp].  Like most good nerds I could recite complete passages of the film from memory, having watched it more times than anyone should ever watch any film.  Later I’d get into the show through the audio recordings, then eventually renting the VHS tapes of the BBC show. 

Yet I was oddly unwilling to pay good money to see Monty Python’s Spamalot.  Some of it was that of all the Pythons Eric Idle, the driving force behind Spamalot, had always been my least favorite of the group and had always seemed the most willing to cash in on the group’s fame no matter how tacky. 

And tacky it is, though in the glorious tacky manner that both embraces and mocks its translation from low budget film to Broadway musical.  In a lot of ways this is a meta-musical, playing with the form the same way that the movie played with the form of movie theatre.  Songs such as “Diva’s Lament” and “You Won’t Succeed On Broadway” are often less about the plot, than about the fact that a musical is going on.  Some songs are slightly altered versions from the movie, while Idle brings “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” in from Life of Brian to help fill the show out.

 Spamalot is far more accessible than anything Python has done, consider it a simplified beginners version of the humour of the group.  Everything is a broader, partly due to the influence of Idle and partly due to changes needed for being translated for the stage.  Whereas Graham Chapman’s King Arthur was the straight-man of the movie, acting every bit as if he was in a real historical epic, this Arthur is louder and seems quite in on the joke.

Still it’s hard to find fault with the production.  The songs are catchy, the jokes are funny and the cast is talented.  I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone, even those with a low tolerance for Python will enjoy it and there’s enough reference to skits and jokes from the television show to interest a hardcore fan. 

The only original Python appearing in the show, as the pre-recorded voice of God, is John Cleese.  Michael Palin wrote the Finnish opening bits.  Though most of the other Pythons are less than pleased with the show and its success, this is probably the closest thing that there ever will be to new material from the group. 

Now if you’ll excuse me there’s trouble at the mill.

Spamalot is showing at The Centre, and tickets are on sale at your local Ticketmaster.

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