The Monty Python Musical Gallops Back Onto Broadway

REVIEWS

As the supporting actors rotate around comedic parts and don Jen Carpio’s eye-popping costume designs, the Round Table is rounded out with the talents of SNL alum Taran Killam as the brash Sir Lancelot (Killam does little compelling with Lancelot, but excels at other roles), Michael Urie as the timid Sir Robin, Jimmy Smagula as the flatulent Sir Bedevere, and Nik Walker as the intellectual Sir Galahad. Ethan Slater (the “SpongeBob Squarepants Musical” O.G.) exploits his versatility, swiveling from a stressed Historian, a Not Yet Dead corpse, a mime, and to the poor Prince Herbert who just wants to sing. Bottled within a decorative part, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer as the Lady of the Lake gobbles her power ballad pastiches like Liza Minnelli and Celine Dion. After all, “Whatever Happened to My Part” pokes fun at the Lady’s plot disappearance, so she makes every minute count as the musical’s sole woman lead.

Milking its mileage from the familiar, “Spamalot” lays thick the affectionate theatre references (including the headline-raising Lea Michele replacement casting in “Funny Girl”) and the parodic “Songs That Goes Like This.” These include the soaring vocals of “Defying Gravity,” the sensual Fosse hip sways of “All That Jazz,” and Jerome Robbins’ “Bottle Dance.” Josh Rhodes’ direction and choreography light up the stage with jaunty dancing, tossing throwbacks here and there. Lesser songs like “I Am Not Dead Yet” are simply extensions of the movie’s lines. The classic “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (from the “Life of Brian” movie) is the tap of a sweet-sounding nostalgia button, but interwoven underwhelmingly into Arthur’s setbacks. 

Cheapness is a charm of the low-budgeted movie, but the stage’s derivative projections struggle for a comic identity. With Paul Tate DePoo III’s projection and scenic design, the graphic renderings deliver the gags and the environment in conjunction with slick castle and arches, from a genericized computer-generated “Phantom of the Opera” chandelier to a cutout-stylization of God (a feeble homage to Terry Gilliam’s crude aesthetic). A projected falling-chandelier gag should crack our ribs in hilarity for us theatre-heads rather than induce a chuckle.

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