Spamalot is big, glitzy bundle of inside jokes that anyone can get into.
Its creamy center is comprised of crowd-pleasing, very faithful reproductions of scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with a dip into Life of Brian here and there. Added to this core material are playful nods to Broadway classics and melodramatic conventions — be on the lookout for Phantom and Les Mis, among others.
Rabid Python fans will smile early and knowingly as those key scenes from The Grail are reenacted. Though the actors’ performances don’t match the originals (and what could?), they are still hilarious and gain an extra punch from being performed live with bouncy song and dance numbers tacked on.
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Spamalot also benefits theatregoers new to Monty Python because, as a Broadway show, it draws those favorite parts from the movie (everything from the Knights Who Say "Ni" to the holy hand grenade to the random deus-ex-machina gestures-from-the-sky) into a more accessible frame of reference.
Meanwhile, both crowds will laugh at the showbiz gags, expanded diva role for the Lady in the Lake, and cleverly projected expository animations, and breaking of the fourth (stage) wall.
All in all, Spamalot‘s many and disparate jokes, gags, and catchy tunes eventually work together to form a dysfunctional and funny whole. You’ll leave the theatre (after a rousing singalong) with a tune on your lips and a desire to go rent the movie again in your heart.
– Written by Audrey