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Theatre Review: Spamalot

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
“Spamalot” – the Broadway musical from 2005 – draws heavily on the popular, low budget 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Like the old movie, this new musical pokes relentless fun at King Arthur and the Middle Ages, including this famous exchange involving a man carting off bodies while the Black Death is devastating civilization
                “Bring out your dead!”
                “Here’s one.”
                “Nine pence.”
                “I’m not dead!”
                “Right, here’s your nine pence.”
                “I’m not dead!”
                “Here, he says he’s not dead.”
                “Yes he is.”
                “I’m not!”
                “Well, he will be soon.”

I loved that routine in the ‘70s, and it still gets me laughing now. But be advised: the original Monty Python film was less than 90 minutes, while “Spamalot” runs nearly an hour longer. The bulk of the new material relies heavily on musical satire.

(trumpet, bang bang)
Teenagers will get an instant laugh, while older audiences will appreciate the homage to 1940s’ Spike Jones humor.

Being a musical, the obligatory romantic interest has been added to the festivities. But really, “Spamalot” is more of an “anti-musical.” The songs are tongue-in-cheek takedowns of various Broadway traditions, and no sacred cow is spared.

All in all, it’s very silly, and for the most part good fun, especially for aging Monty Python devotees. And the tap-dancing knights in shining armor will likely tickle anyone’s funnybone.

The Music Circus production of "Spamalot" plays at the Wells Fargo Pavilion through July 18th.
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