Monty Python’s Spamalot | The Muny

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The knights who say “Ni,” the French taunter, “it’s only a flesh wound,” and the killer rabbit all make their appearances.

 

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The Muny kicks off its 95th season with a satirical visit to medieval England in Monty Python’s Spamalot. This first-ever outdoor production of the show, which won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical, stars John O’Hurley as King Arthur. O’Hurley, best known as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, has a uniquely resonant speaking voice, and he’s a powerful singer, as well.

Due to rain in the days leading up to Monday’s show-opener, the performance I saw was a combination dress-rehearsal/tech-rehearsal/first-production, and it showed. There were a few flubbed cues here and there, and the computerized screen at the back of the stage wasn’t quite working right. And yet, Spamalot’s humor, music, and theatricality still shone through.

One standout in the cast was Michelle Ragusa as the Lady of the Lake, who sings the showstopper, “Find Your Grail,” with gusto.

Much of the book of the musical comedy is drawn line-for-line from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail—and many of the funniest scenes will be familiar to fans of that movie. The knights who say “Ni,” the French taunter, “it’s only a flesh wound,” and the killer rabbit all make their appearances.

King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail, the cup used at Jesus’s Last Supper, is—or so the show tells us—a metaphor for looking for what’s important to each of us. Monty Python’s Eric Idle’s quest for Broadway success has certainly been achieved. Idle attended Monday’s performance and noted after the show that never before had so many people seen Spamalot all at once. Fans of Monty Python and those just looking for a smart, funny show would do well to head to The Muny for a satisfying evening. | David Benkof

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