Spamalot at Dallas Summer Muscals at The Music Hall at Fair Park
SPAMALOT
This Tony winning musical adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail is hilariously raunchy ... nonstop razzle-dazzle zaniness from beginning to end.

Theater Review: Spamalot

Performed by Dallas Summer Musicals at Music Hall at Fair Park

Book and lyrics by Eric Idle, Music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle

Directed by Mike Nichols

© The Flash List | June 15, 2011

 

Once upon a time in a dark and very expensive forest, King Arthur and his lively band of knights (who "eat ham, and jam and Spam a lot") embarked upon a noble quest to find the Holy Grail (no, not Quail; Grail).  After a brief ‘miscommunicated’ diversion to the Moose Village of Finland for some fisch schlapping (and then, whoops, back to England where our story actually begins), the merry men encounter a colorful assortment of characters and events as they gallop far and wide on imaginary horses (while their attendants use halved coconut shells to provide the necessary clip-clopping sounds).

 

The Tony Award winning Spamalot, which opened last night at Ye Olde Music Hall at Fair Park, is a musical adaptation of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (a parody of the Arthurian Legend); and it is hilariously raunchy. If you’re a Python fan, we can’t imagine why you wouldn’t love this show; and even if you don’t know your Python from peanuts, that won’t matter a lick - the production is nonstop razzle-dazzle zaniness from beginning to end. 

 

With crude and extremely irreverent humor, Spamalot is a sort of ‘unauthorized biography’ of King Arthur (played by Steve McCoy), who desires to form the Knights of the Round Table.  He attempts to enlist the political activist Dennis Galahad (Jacob L. Smith), a Fabio/Hanson/pretty boy type, who is convinced of Arthur’s plight and authority only after seeing the illustrious Lady of the Lake (Caroline Bowman) and her booty shaking, ‘seaweed pompom’ wielding Laker Girls.  Meanwhile, Sir Robin (Martin Glyer) wheels through town calling “bring out your dead”, and meets Sir Lancelot (Adam Grabau) over a discussion about the now famous Not Dead Fred (John Garry) in a skit that’s everything you hope it will be and so much more.

 

Eventually, the entire company makes its way to Camelot, a Las Vegas Excalibur themed resort castle complete with casino décor, dancing showgirls, a ‘flying’ nun, and the Lady of the Lake offering up a Cher/Christina/Gaga/diva impersonation.  But after a mandate is received at the rocket boosted Feet of God to find the Holy Grail, the team then happens across the paths of some especially lewd Frenchmen (against whom they devise a large wooden rabbit), the armless Black Knight (who fights despite his insistence that his injury is "just a flesh wound"), and the Knights Who Say Ni (who demand not only a shrubbery but also a Broadway musical).  As you may know, "The artists formerly known as the Knights who say Ni" (as King Arthur refers to them) change their name; and on this night in Dallas, they became the Knights who say “Ecky, Ecky, Ecky, … LeBron James can suck it, Go Mavs!” at which time of course the crowd absolutely erupted.

 

Later, as Sir Robin laments the fact that they can’t possibly succeed on Broadway if they don’t have any Jews, Lancelot receives a note from what is assumed to be a damsel in distress but turns out to be an effeminate young man instead.  So Lancelot (“who likes to dance-a-lot”) charges into the castle only to ‘come out’ by way of ‘the closet’ in what comes across as a sort of LSD induced, Latin inspired, Studio 54 disco hallucination with Carmen Miranda fruit-y headwear and maraca wielding boys in tight pants and ruffle-sleeved shirts.

 

By the way, let us just say that Spamalot’s got the show aaand the go.  Not only are the costumes inventive, the sets vibrantly colorful, the choreography whimsical, and the script uproariously funny, but the cast is also extremely talented.

 

Steve McCoy was a distinguished but laughable King Arthur (which in this case is a very good thing), John Garry kept the audience in stitches as the falsetto speaking Prince Herbert, and Glenn Giron was perfect as the working class Patsy (the king’s sidekick) especially as he sang “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” while performing his soft shoe and tap dance in a style a bit like a chimney sweeping Dick Van Dyke.

 

As for Caroline Bowman, not only does she have the spot-on diva attitude for her Lady of the Lake part, but this ballsy chick’s got chops.  Her satirical duet with Jacob L. Smith, “The Song That Goes Like This” (part romance, part theatrical commentary), was as entertaining as her arm in the air, hand waving, inspirational, rock ‘n’ roll ballad “Find Your Grail” and her very comical, front stage demand halfway through Act II when she asks, “Whatever happened to my part?”

 

With your standard Pythonesque Victorian stop motion animations on screen and dialogue that is very similar to the movie (much of it recited verbatim), Spamalot leaves you feeling completely satisfied.  Not only will you meet for yourself Tim the Enchanter (also Adam Grabau) and hear his warning against the evil rabbit, but you will experience the lobbing of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and you won’t forget its sovereign rule of counting only to three.  “Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three” etc.

 

And you will be happy to know that in the end, the kingdom is spared; the Lady of the Lake’s identity is revealed; and thanks in part last night to Joe Barenti, a “peasant” ‘slash’ random spectator seated in a section near the stage, the Holy Grail was indeed located.

 

Sound fun?  Well then, here’s what you need to do next:

 

#1)

Rent the movie for a recap if you like (or watch any of the gazillion Python skits on You Tube).

 

#2)

Get tickets to go see Spamalot.  Running through June 26, 2011, tickets cost about $18.00 to $75.00 or so a seat.  And honestly, you don’t have to buy the more expensive, super up-close seats to enjoy this show.  Its humor translates to just about anywhere in the auditorium.

 

#5) no, #3)

If you still need more Python, stop by The British Emporium in Grapevine and/or attend one of their Monty Python Madness events in the late fall (view past video here).  Featured in the recent DVD of the 40 year anniversary of Monty Python documentary, they are the hub of Python activity in DFW; and the original Pythons are delighted that they are keeping the flame alive in Texas!

 

For more information, see:

 

Spamalot Performance Details

 

Dallas Summer Musicals

 

Spamalot Official Website

spamalot is based on the original screenplay by graham chapman, john cleese, terry gilliam, eric idle, terry  jones, & michael palin

 

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