It's Only A Model
Monty Python's Spamalot
Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Nashville, TN
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
My first exposure to British comedy came when I was about ten. Monty Python and The Holy Grail was playing on HBO, and my dad called me downstairs to watch it (a decision I'm sure he's come to regret later in life). I certainly didn't get all the jokes at the time. I'm sure the bits about oral sex and various forms of government went over my head, but I thought the Black Knight and the killer rabbit were hilarious, and it planted the seed that would grow into an annoying, quote spewing weed when MTV started running Monty Python's Flying Circus on Sunday nights after my senior year of high school. So since my dad was the one who started me down that road, it was only fitting that he got us tickets for the touring edition of Spamalot when it made its stop in Nashville.
I'd heard mixed reviews of the show, so I went in with tempered expectations. And while the show certainly wasn't perfect, it was hilarious. Even having seen the movie more times than I can count, there were enough new jokes to keep things fresh. They even worked in a local reference or two, including a Pacman Jones punchline that brought down the house. Really, the only weak moments of the show came during a couple of the songs, which were kind of hit or miss. I thought the whole outing of Sir Lancelot sequence was bizarre and unnecessary, but then you had moments like the pro-semitism of "You Won't Succeed on Broadway," or the Broadway mocking "The Song That Goes Like This" that more than made up for it. Nashville audiences were also some of the first that got to hear the new revised lyrics to "Diva's Lament." And while my first thought upon learning that Life of Brian's "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" was included was that there was nothing Eric Idle wouldn't do to pimp that song, the way it was used actually worked really well. All in all, it ended up doing the source material proud, and made for a great evening for Python fans both old and new.
Monty Python - "Camelot" (mp3) from the Monty Python and The Holy Grail soundtrack