Hodges and Hodges recommend that you go and see CAMELOT in San Francisco. Oh, wait. No, that’s not quite right. Sorry about that. Blimey! It’s actually Monty Python’s SPAMALOT at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre, playing now through April 22nd. Winner of three Tony Awards including Best Musical (and nominated for fourteen others), SPAMALOT is the musical comedy sensation lovingly ripped off from the film classic “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.”
Former Python Eric Idle wrote the book as well as music and lyrics. He was helped by composer John Du Prez. SPAMALOT tells the legendary tale of Arthur, King of the Britons and his Knights of the very, very, very, Round Table, and their God-given quest to find the Holy Grail. As they knock about England (Instead of noble steads they knock coconut shells together, simulating the sound of horse’s hoofs) they eventually get lost and are scattered in a dark and very expensive forest. As they try and find each other and the Grail, they each have their own adventures that culminate in . . . well, we won’t spoil the ending for you. You’ll just have to go and see it for yourself.
Hodges and Hodges (Nick and Linda) were there with the whole silly gang to experience the side-splitting laughter first-hand. See below for our review of SPAMALOT.
Okay, Linda, first impressions.
When you walk into the Orpheum and hear the unmistakable strains of John Philip Sousa’s Liberty Bell March you know that you’re in Monty Python territory. That was just the beginning of the fun.
Of course! Monty Python’s Flying Circus television show always opened and closed with the Liberty Bell March.
It really put the audience in a good mood. And even before the show started you could hear people laughing over the Playbill, which had a fake title page listing a fake cast in homage to the original movie title sequence.
How perfectly Pythonesque. But even if you aren’t up on your Monty Python skits, gags and movies, SPAMALOT is strong enough to stand on its own. All you need is a wacky sense of humor and a desire to look on the bright side of life.
Agreed. From fish-shlapping Finns to flagellant monks and flatulent French taunters, the show was spectacular. Arthur Rowan as Arthur, King, anchored the show, along with his faithful sidekick Patsy (the incomparable Michael J. Berry).
Rowan was great and you could tell that he was having fun on stage. He was very regal as the King while keeping the comedy intact. After the show I caught up with him and he had this to say – “San Francisco is great. One of the best crowds we’ve had so far.” That may be, in part, due to the very well placed political Rick Santorum joke added for the SF audience.
Berry’s Patsy, just made me smile the whole show. His performance in “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” did justice to the name of Monty Python and he really hit it out of the park.
Tim Hatley smartly costumed the two of them in identical tunics, but the difference between noble king and working class servant could not be more apparent. Arthur’s tunic is gleaming white and in pristine condition while Patsy’s is a dingy brown and has become frayed - a testament to the 99% who do all the heavy lifting.
Yes, the Python critique of the upper class shines through quite a bit. In one scene the King tries to recruit Dennis Galahad (Yes, Dennis) who is played by the dashing Jacob L. Smith. When Arthur informs him that he’s the King, Dennis replies, “Oh, king, eh? Very nice. And how’d you get that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the social and economic differences in our society!
That definitely got a big laugh here in San Francisco. I think one of the biggest moments was when a closeted Sir Lancelot (Adam Grabau) is danced and sung out of the closet and into the waiting arms of the sweetly effeminate Herbert (a wonderfulJames David Larson – who also plays Dead Fred).