Spamalot London Review*

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Whatever Eric Idle did with this show, he was going to be in for some easy criticism: too many lifts from the Python catalogue, too few, shouldn’t have done it at all, etc. Well, all I can say is, Spamalot was one of the most memorably funny evenings out I’ve had for years. I think they got it just right: not a straight run-through of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but not an incessant stream of nudge-nudge wink-wink references to other Python material either, just a bunch of in-yer-face addons to keep everyone happy (Finland, Bright Side of Life, etc).

And let’s face it, whilst I can understand the show having been a hit on Broadway, the West End in London is its real home. Only two of the cast have transferred, from what I’ve read: the magnificent Tim Curry as King Arthur, and Chris Sieber as Sir Dennis Galahad. But the star of the show is – unquestionably – the statuesque Hannah Waddingham as The Lady of the Lake. Apparently she’s only two inches taller than Tim Curry (hmmm…), but she dominated the stage just as the writer and director presumably intended. Fabulous.

Is it worth going? If you’re even a minor Monty Python fan, no question: it’d have been a great night out for you even if the production values hadn’t been so high, but given the full West End treatment, you’ll spend the evening thinking this is something you never thought you’d see. There were a few people around me who clearly didn’t know any Python past Always Look on the Bright Side of Life though, and they seemed to be having just as good a time, thanks to the incessant and hilarious parodies of other musicals, slapstick which anyone would love, and terrific singing and choreography. It’s a Big West End Production in every respect, and a marvellous night out. I’d also thoroughly recommend the CD of the original Broadway show.

* Yes, I know it’s not the most exciting title for a post. But for some reason, at the time of writing, a web search on this fairly basic phrase (“Spamalot London Review”) produced not a single decent hit, so I thought I’d use it and get the traffic. That’s all.

2 Replies to “Spamalot London Review*”

  1. It’s hard to take over a part that has earned a Tony.
    But I saw Spamalot in London this week and I although I loved Hannah Waddingham’s voice, I didn’t like her acting that much.
    Monty Python is about over-acting, but this was over the top!!!
    She wasn’t funny, she acted funny! I couldn’t believe one second that King Arthur would go for her.
    OK, it was just 3 weeks after they had start, so maybe I will have to give her a chance.
    And how I missed Michael Mc Grath, he is a real show man and that made “Always look on the bright side” very disappointing to me. Where was the umbrella act and the tap routine?
    Not to mention “You won’t succeed in showbizz”……
    All showstoppers in N.Y but not in London. The actor who played
    Sir Robin could have been David Hyde Pierce’s brother, but was he cast on his looks??
    Don’t get me wrong, I had a great evening. Thanks to Tim Curry, Christopher Sieber , the cast and the actor who played Sir Lancelot! He was really amazing and I don’t see that mentioned anywhere!. Hank Azaria was great, but this guy was also absolutely amazing.

    It IS worth going there! I did see a wonderful show but do not agree with “the star of the show”, Hannah Waddingham.
    The stars of the show, to me, were Tim Curry, Christopher Sieber and the actor (I hate myself for not knowing his name) who played Lancelot.

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  2. I just didn’t find this funny and my favourite comedy film is the Pythons’ Life of Brian. It is obviously written for a US audience and many of the ‘jokes’ can be seen coming a mile off. If you like the sort of humour that has someone literally skipping when told to skip reading an entire page of a book, then this is the show for you.

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