Montageman: A dude who writes

January 7, 2007


Filed under: montypython, spamalot, theater — montageman @ 5:35 am


I love going to the theater, especially musicals.   I’m also a fan of Monty Python, so Spamalot (check out the game linked off the homepage) was an exciting show for me.

First, a bit of background.  I first saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 7th grade.   At that point, I knew it was a funny film, but I wasn’t quite sure why.  Eventually, I began watching the film once a week (sometimes more).  The humor goes beyond what would be considered conventionally funny.  It’s the humor of wit and little things.  The horse that’s not there, the black knight sequence, the taunting frenchman, etc.  The film has so many scenes that are quoted and/or ripped off.  In Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” he raps, “I memorized Holy Grail really well /I can recite it right now and have you R-O-T-F-L-O-L,” (Straight Outta Lynwood, 2006).  Monty Pyhton is a quintessentially nerdy film.   The people who love it, really love it – to the point of recital.  But those who dislike it, really dislike it.  It’s weird how some films (or series of films) become polarizing in this way.

That said, I was worried that the stage presentation would not live up to the film, even though Eric Idle and John Cleese were heavily involved in its production on Broadway.   I’m very happy to say that I was wrong.  Uproariously funny and well acted, Spamalot was easily the most fun I’ve had a musical.  What also became apparent to me tonight is the timelessness of the Python’s humor.  None of the jokes had changed, however, they were all still funny.  There is both a moment of recognition, i.e. attaching the line to the film and an enjoyment in the new.  There was a self-reflexivity throughout the show, which mirrors the reflexivity in the film.  Also, constant use of anachronisms, i.e. the mention of Broadway are prevalent as well.  In fact, the entire production in an anachronism of sorts with one foot in the past & an one in the present.  This is one of the most enjoyable parts about comedic theater – all of this is taken as the norm.  Taking it one step beyond, a musical comedy can be afforded even more leeway since the entire premise of the musical demands a suspension of disbelief in the first place.


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