Norm and I are giving the kids a night off ( sleepover with friends ) and we are going out!
Goofy and witty and lavish and garish, Spamalot at the Academy of Music is a laugh-out-loud good time. Based on the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, complete with the Knights Who Say “Ni,” various dismemberments and killer bunnies, this musical parodies everything imaginable – from Camelot to West Side Story to The Producers to The Phantom of the Opera to Wicked – there’s even an Angels in America moment (a wizard flies in, hangs above the stage and intones, “Greetings”). Mostly it parodies itself: the Big Broadway Show.
A great parody needs a great cast; no problem here. Michael Siberry brings much style to his droopy, exasperated King Arthur. Followed by his faithful servant (Jeff Dumas), he rides through medieval Britain gathering up knights.
Well, not exactly “rides” – it’s more that he lopes along while H.F.S. claps coconut shells together for the sound effect of horse’s hooves. Having rounded up the round-table gang, the Lady of the Lake (the spectacular Pia Glenn) sends them off, cheered on by the Laker Girls, complete with pompoms.
God’s gigantic feet, presumably attached to the rest of him, appear, and the quest for the Holy Grail begins (“What? The All-Knowing has misplaced a cup?”).
There are ultra-splashy production numbers (Camelot turns out to be a Vegas casino, complete with floor show: “What happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot”), and the scene at the French castle that starts with a rant winds up with a big cancan-as-battle number.
Act 2 starts in “a very expensive forest” and then moves to “another part of the very expensive forest.” The smartest/silliest songs are “The Diva’s Lament,” which begins with the immortal lyric “What happened to my part?” and the reprise of the astonishing faux love ballad “The Song That Goes Like This,” which every Broadway musical has to have. And has to reprise.
The dancing is lively, the costumes are hilarious, the jokes are piled on thick and the company is wildly good-natured and wildly accomplished. In short there’s simply not / A more amusing spot / Than here in Spamalot.
Monty Python’s Spamalot
Written by Eric Idle and John Du Prez. Directed by Mike Nichols.
Cast: Michael Siberry (King Arthur), Pia Glenn (Lady of the Lake), Jeff Dumas, Christopher Gurr, Patrick Heusinger, Robert Petkoff, Christopher Sutton, Kevin Crewell.
Playing at: Academy of Music, Broad & Locust Sts. Through April 8. Tickets $28 to $87.50