Monday, March 07, 2011

Review: Fun (A Lot!) at Spamalot

Monthy Python's Spamalot (A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail) had another run here in the L.A. area at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, and I was lucky enough to be able to catch the last show.

Now, I knew I was going to enjoy the show because I love all things Monty Python, but even my sister (who couldn't last through the original movie) was joining in the laughter - and maybe laughing more than me! Maybe...

The beautiful theater at the Cerritos Center is small, but tall (4 floors high!) with box seats on the sides like the theaters of old Europe in a completely modern look. We were on the 3rd floor (The Gold Circle), but still had a great view of the stage!

Spamalot sets the mood right by opening with two great things that are not in the movie, but are from Monty Python and hit close to my heart - Finland (my home country) and the Fish Slapping Dance (my favorite skit from Monty Python's Flying Circus). How does this tie into the legend of King Arthur? It doesn't. And that is why it fits so well into a Monty Python musical!

Oh Yes! The musical does go through the story of King Arthur finding his knights of the Round Table and searching for the Holy Grail with the added character of the Lady of Lake, played by Caroline Bowman, whose beautiful voice really carried the "musical" part of the show. Along the way, we are treated with songs of all genres extrapolated from famous quotes in the movie such as "I Am Not Dead Yet" and "Run Away", and new songs, such as "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" and "His Name is Lancelot", that are, if it is possible, even better! The two songs that really tied the show together (and even gave me a warm 'n fuzzy feeling inside) were "The Song That Goes Like This", a tongue-in-cheek homage to all musicals, and "Find Your Grail", which was actually, kind of, sort of, in a way inspiring!

There are a lot more references to other Monty Python favorites, such as the infamous animated foot and the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (from The Life of Brian), but for Monty Python and musical lovers alike, this show is not to be missed. Alas! Yesterday was the final performance at Cerritos Center, so you may be on your own search for the Holy Grail of Musicals!

-Tiina Vuorenmaa, ExperienceLA Staff

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