Review: ‘Spamalot’ a perfect fit for Vegas

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” among the many chipper songs in “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” represents the show’s infectious, positive attitude.

It’s just one reason why the Tony (and Grammy) Award-winning musical, onstage since March in its own special Grail Theater at Wynn Las Vegas, is bound to thrill audiences for a long while.

Sheer silliness, a trademark of Python humor, is another reason for the success of the show, which is based on (or as creators say, “lovingly ripped off from”) the low-budget film favorite “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The movie’s famous elements remain: the coconut shell/horse-hoof clopping, the Black Knight who refuses to die, the Knights Who Say Ni, the killer rabbit, and the man who’s not dead yet. But added to the classic crazy antics in this production directed by comedy veteran Mike Nichols (“The Graduate”) is ritzy razzle-dazzle worthy of not only Broadway, but Las Vegas itself. Glittery costumes, giggle-inducing over-the-top gags at the level of “The Producers” and hilarious new songs by John Du Prez and Eric Idle add to the nonstop high jinks.

It’s a tribute to the show that one needn’t be a Monty Python geek to enjoy the proceedings. Better yet, this live version of the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table goes even further than the movie in that there’s even a semblance of a plot. Theater lovers also will enjoy the plentiful nods to show biz greats, from Sondheim to Fosse to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

John O’Hurley (J. Peterman on “Seinfeld”) is ideal as King Arthur, who, after gathering up knights Lancelot (J. Anthony Crane), Robin (Harry Bouvy) and Galahad (Edward Standenmayer) to search for the grail, gets together with his benefactress, the Lady of the Lake. Nikki Crawford is pitch-perfect as the Lady, who gets two standout tunes, “The Song That Goes Like This,” and “The Diva’s Lament,” which poke particular fun at Broadway cliches.

Personifying the versatility of a fine ensemble member, Steven Strafford is a standout in a number of roles, particularly Not Dead Fred at the outset of the show.

Lancelot comes out in his own way in “My Name is Lancelot,” while Robin’s show-stopper is “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway,” with its to-die-for lyric: “There’s a very small percentile, who enjoys a dancing gentile, I’m sad to be the one with this bad news! But never mind your swordplay, you just won’t succeed on Broadway, if you don’t have any Jews.”

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Jazz pianist and composer Jon Jang is an instructor at Community Music Center in the Mission District. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Jon Jang composes bittersweet symphonies

Musician-activist’s works are steeped in civil rights history

Calfire (Shutterstock)
Wildfires burn around Northern California during first red flag weekend of the year

Firefighters around the region battled wildfires all day Saturday, starting less than… Continue reading

Most Read