by Stormy on April 19, 2014
People like Spamalot ... a lot ...
I'll be honest. I never liked Monty Python. I always viewed their humor as drug-induced slapstick entertainment and never being a big fan of slapstick or self-deprecating comedy, I've simply avoided it. I realize that the comedy community holds Monty Python in high regard, arguing that they did for humor what The Beatles did for music. But it just wasn't there for me.
When asked by the City of Aurora and the Aurora Fox Theater to help with the promotion of the play, I was somewhat leery. It wasn't my thing and I acknowledged it, but being asked to help was quite an honor and so I agreed to help with the Quest for the Holy Grail geocaching contest. I do love geocaching, after all!
The first step in the process was to watch the 1975 cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail. While it had a few funny moments, it was full of humor that I did not relate to in any way. Many scenes were drawn out to the point of being painful. Transitions lacked consistency and the movie's progression often appeared as a series of random clips. It was a variety show with some common elements. The movie's conclusion was abrupt, confusing and unfulfilling. Was the whole story about a drug induced hallucination? What happened? Needless to say, I was completely under whelmed.
Fast forward to April 18, when I attended the awarding of the grand prize in the Quest for the Holy Grail at the Aurora Fox presentation of Spamalot. I knew that the play was based on the movie and I honestly expected to see the movie on stage, so coming in I had set the bar very low and it turned out that the play was a pleasant surprise. It was based on the movie, but it was not the movie. There were parts that I simply did not understand, but the story was much tighter, the acting was much better. There was more music and more action and the ending was one that I could understand and relate to. Spamalot was a spoof of the Arthurian legend and it was very well done.
It should be noted that in 2005 the play won the Tony Award for best musical, best actress and best director and also the Drama Desk Award for outstanding musical, lyrics and costume design. The play received the Theater World Award for acting and in 2006 it won the Grammy for best musical. That's quite a pedigree!
I'm still not a fan of Monty Python. I have no plans of embracing their works, but at the same time, I've seen plays that rated far worse than Spamalot and while it's not a classic must see in my mind, it was a show that I had a good time attending. I'd strongly recommend this show to anyone with an evening to kill in Aurora, especially if you do enjoy Monty Python and their particular brand of humor. For me this show was an evening well spent!
Spamalot is playing at the Aurora Fox through May 4.
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