BWW Review: SPAMALOT Delivers the Laughs in Sioux Falls
Winter blues starting to hit? Tired of the endless cold, snow, and grey skies? Need a laugh? Then get yourself over to The Washington Pavilion for the last two performances of Monty Python's SPAMALOT. This show will have you laughing from beginning to end and have you looking on the brighter side of life within the first few minutes! Eric Idle (book, music, and lyrics) and John Du Prez (music) take the jokes everyone knows and loves from the original screenplay of Monty Python and The Holy Grail movie and add a uniquely Broadway flair to the classic story.
Winner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical, SPAMALOT follows the legendary tale of King Arthur (Steve McCoy) and his Knights of the Round Table as they seek the Holy Grail and how to put on a Broadway style show. The show is absurdly funny in true Monty Python fashion, filled with physical comedy, lots of sarcasm and satire, and a little bit of the obscene.
Whether you are a diehard lover of the original Monty Python movies or just a fan of pop culture, you'll be sure to recognize some truly classic jokes and favorite moments from the movie. Patsy (Jason Elliott Brown) is still following King Arthur around with his coconuts. There is still a debate as to what the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow is, a scene very well staged with both gate keepers debating from windows on either side of the stage above King Arthur and Patsy. There are also appearances by the French Guards who fart in our general direction, Knights who say 'Ni' in search of a shrubbery, and The Black Knight convinced his severed arm is but a flesh wound.
While the familiar jokes are expected and appreciated, I love the uniquely Broadway flair that is added to this show. It routinely breaks the fourth wall while acknowledging the audience or acknowledging typical theatrical tropes. In "The Song That Goes Like This" The Lady of the Lake (Leslie Jackson) and Sir Dennis Galahad (Philip Huffman) spend an entire song poking fun at the type of songs one comes to expect in most Broadway shows, and it has nothing to do with the plot. The song's purpose is to purely poke fun at Broadway; and highlight the superb vocal talent of Jackson. The Lady of the Lake reprises this theme several more times throughout the show including and Act 2 number about why she hasn't had enough stage time during "The Diva's Lament." Broadway fans keep your eyes peeled for other Broadway show references from LES MISERABLES, Singing in the Rain, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, FUNNY GIRL, and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. The latter appearing during a truly spectacular number by Sir Robin (Kasidy Delvin) about how you won't succeed on Broadway "if you don't have any Jews." There is also something about translating a movie to stage that challenges a creative team, the costuming used to portray severed limbs is brilliantly done and very effective for the stage.
This show tends to zig when you think its going to zag. During the bit with Not Dead Fred (Tim Hackney), the man proves he is not yet dead by breaking out into a dance routine before ultimately being killed by a blow to head from Sir Lancelot (Adam Grabau). This surprise dance number is the zig I wasn't expecting. SPAMALOT has a surprising number of dance breaks and tap numbers throughout the show that highlight the talented cast. After The Lady of the Lake makes her grand appearance, she leaves stage with Sir Dennis of Galahad and King Arthur leads her "Laker Girls" in a cheer routine more fitting for an NBA halftime show than medieval Britain. The scenes set in Camelot contained the largest song and dance numbers, which is fitting as it appears to be a combination of Las Vegas and Disney World - two places do one can debate are large and over the top. Complete with magic castle, scantily clad women and a round table that is really a roulette wheel, the audience is left in awe by the spectacle that is Camelot; perfectly capturing the pure over the top nature of the show.
While the large over the top numbers had the audience roaring, sometimes it was the subtler use of staging and body movement that had them most engaged. Adam Grabau had the audience in stiches as the French Taunter with the movement of his head along the gate wall while making fart noises at King Arthur and his knights. I particularly enjoyed the blink and you miss it moment where the conductor popped her head out of the pit during the overture to shoot down one of the musicians.
The cast is fantastic with great comedic timing and you truly feel like they are having fun on stage and that fun radiates out into the audience. Please don't miss the final shows of SPAMALOT here in Sioux Falls. You can still get tickets at The Washington Pavilion here.
Photo Credit: SPAMALOT On Tour