After seeing the highly anticipated Milken production of Monty Python’s Spamalot last Thursday, I left the theater with two messages from the play: always look on the bright side of life and find your grail. The former is a metaphor for always striving to be optimistic, even when life seems random, complex or frustrating. The latter is a figurative inference, to pursue your ambitions and passions and never give up on trying. It was interesting how these two messages translated into the Milken version of one of the most beloved “lovingly ripped off” comedic musicals of our generation.
For those of you who aren’t familiar or did not quite catch the story behind Spamalot (if you’ve seen it), here’s the breakdown: Set in a gloomy, medieval England, a noble yet arrogant King Arthur of Camelot (Benjamin Pitt ’14) goes on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Accompanied by his cheery servant Patsy (Anina Dassa ’14) and his loyal yet flamboyant group of knights, Sir Galahad (Evan Mateen ’16), Sir Robin (Tiffany Maddahi ’15), Sir Lancelot (Jonah Schatz ’13), and Sir Bedevere (Josh Nourafshan ’16), King Arthur advances on an epic journey filled with wild and wacky moments.
Despite the lessons we can learn from Spamalot, the show itself is both endearing and outrageously funny. Although some of the play’s material might not amuse some, Spamalot nevertheless surpasses expectations with brilliantly colorful performances, dazzling background, outstanding musical numbers and classic lines from the original Holy Grail.
My favorite parts of Spamalot were predominantly the musical pieces: Sir Robin’s solo number, “You Won’t Succeed in Broadway,” poked stereotypical but relatively funny jokes at Jews; Herbert’s (Avi Sholkoff ’15) side-splitting serenade to Lancelot, “His Name is Lancelot;” Sir Galahad and the Lady of the Lake’s (Emma Peretz ’14) jokingly overlong duet, “The Song that Goes Like This;” and the warm-hearted and whimsical “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” My only critical comment about the show is the lack of continuity with the presence of certain characters. For example, some characters, such as the hysterical Sir Galahad, appeared in only the first few scenes and then did not reappear until the finale.
Spamalot charms through its bright exterior, exuberant musical pieces, and uproarious humor. Even though Spamalot’s jokes revolve around toilet humor and sarcasm, we can all learn from the story’s main lessons. Or, you know, just be entertained by the humor. Either way works.