Spamalot Review

Some things in life are bad and, sadly for me, Eric Idle’s 2012 version of Spamalot drifts far too close to this than is comfortable.

King Arthur is off on an adventure, or you might even call it a quest, to find the Holy Grail and go down in history as one of the greatest kings of the land.

England, not Finland; which isn’t as tiresome a point as you might imagine.

But with killer rabbits, a plume of sniffy Frenchmen and The Knights who say Ni standing between Artie and eternal glory, he won’t be able to find the grail all on his own.

So off he trots to find six strong and able men to help him in his quest, taking in the mysterious lady of the lake as he goes, before he and his knights cry harry for England and set off in search of the Holy Grail.

As a big fan of Monty Python, I was rather excited about seeing the latest version of Spamalot at The Playhouse theatre.

Stephen Tompkinson dances into danger as King Arthur, there are a handful of new songs that’ll make you laugh out loud, and some that won’t, while the rest of the cast bring plenty of fun to this production; never more so than when improvisations prompt some mass corpsing on stage.

Yet for all this energy, all Idle has lazily created here is a karaoke rendition of the classic Monty Python And The Holy Grail film.

So we’ve got rehashed versions of all the best bits from Grail lore, including King Arthur fighting The Black Knight to a limbless standstill, the rest of his knights getting up in some French upstarts grille’s before engaging in some bovine related frippery as well as human horses who go clop with their coconuts.

Only problem is that instead of this being brought to us by the perfectly balanced creative talents of John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Eric idle, we’re saddled with a bunch of willing yet inevitably less capable understudy’s doing their very best Python impressions.

The best thing about Monty Python for me was never the material itself, which often redefined silliness just for the sake of it, but how the original Python’s delivered this.

That’s the reason why they’re still revered for their combined comedy talents, whereas all Idle’s zero coke approach to Spamalot made me want was to watch the original Monty Python And The Holy Grail so I could get a taste of the real thing.

It makes you wonder why Idle, who also manages to crowbar Python’s famous fish slapping routine, himself as God and most shamelessly The Life Of Brian’s climactic song into this play, dreamt up Spamalot in the first place.

And I can only think of one reason.

Still, as a very rich old man once sang, always look on the bright side of life.

Jonathan Campbell

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