Searching for the Holy Grail has never been so fun
Monty Python fans needn’t fear that the three-time Tony award-winning Broadway show of “Monty Python’s Spamalot” has lost its punch with the touring production. Everything from the Lady of the Lake and the Laker Girls to the Killer Rabbit lights up the stage of this production. The hilarious spoof adapted from the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and directed by renowned Mike Nichols, who won a Tony for the show, entertains with barely a moment to catch a breath. The show runs Sept. 8–13 at the Civic Theatre.
Anyone unaware of the zaniness of this play probably isn’t very familiar with the humor of the Monty Python group, made up of Britain’s Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. So it may come as a shock that the play about King Arthur (Christopher Gurr) and his search for the Holy Grail makes little sense. That’s because it’s not supposed to. It’s a jigsaw puzzle of parodies, silly skits and unimaginable characters. Even more unbelievable is that real professionals have no problem playing those characters.
Gurr establishes the play’s theme right off the first sword in the Mud Castle scene as he belts out - with Patsy (Jeff Dumas) - “King Arthur’s Song.” Gurr has appeared in productions including “The Lion in Winter” and “12 Angry Men,” directed regional theatre and has been a teacher and associate artist with several theater companies. He embodies every noble stride the leader of the Knights of the Round Table should possess but is not beyond making a complete fool of himself when he gets lost in the Very Expensive Forest (pun intended).
The gallant Sir Lancelot - among other characters he portrays - is played by Matthew Greer, who has performed in “Cabaret” and “The Judas Kiss” on Broadway and has many TV, international and national theater credits. The heroic knight is not without his own mishaps in “Spamalot,” especially when he too must face the vicious Killer Rabbit.
Standing tall among her male colleagues is the beautiful Merle Dandridge as Lady of the Lake. She’s an out-of-sorts accessory to the Knights, often appearing in stunning gowns and letting loose with an aria fit for Carnegie Hall. It’s only when she complains about her part and the words of songs like “The Song That Goes Like This” or “The Diva’s Lament,” does the audience respond with wild laughter.
Rounding out the full package of this delightful show are the book and lyrics by Eric Idle, the fitting music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle and the amazing sets and costumes by Tim Hatley. Casey Nicholaw’s brilliant choreography offers a glimmer of Jerome Robbins’ and Bob Fosse’s style.
For Monty Python fans or newbies, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” will not disappoint. Sometimes it sinks to the lowest common denominator of the laugh bucket, but patrons who see this show will be hard pressed not to leave humming “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’
- Sept. 8-13
- Broadway San Diego / Civic Theatre
- 1100 Third Ave., San Diego
- (619) 570-1100 or