So after seeing Spamalot in London during the preview week last autumn (unintentionally: I just booked tickets online, not realising it wouldn’t even have “opened” when we went), guess what happened this month? We went on holiday to Las Vegas only to discover it was preview week for the latest “permanent” venue for the show – the “Grail Theater” (sic) at the Wynn hotel. Of course we pitched straight in for tickets, if only so I could say (and how nerdish is this?) I must have been one of the first people in the world to have seen the London and Las Vegas productions.
The main difference is that the production seems to have been shortened a little, to a straight 90-minute run-through with no intermission. There aren’t too many any obvious “edits” – I’ve just been going through the Broadway cast recording and I can’t remember hearing “All for One” or “Run Away”, but I may be wrong. In addition, there were two scenes which I also think were cut. Firstly, they just seem to give up on the shrubbery idea (I’m sure they found one in the London performance) and decide to put on a musical to appease the Knights of Ni. Secondly, there was no slapstick scene with the guards looking after Herbert (“stay here and don’t let him leave”) – Lancelot just piles in and kills them. Also, the gag at the beginning going round the map of Britain pointing out where there’s plague (i.e everywhere) was omitted.
The theatre is really nice, with some impressive Python displays in the foyer – you certainly get the impression they plan to be there for the duration. The performance is entirely in an English accent (well, apart from the taunting French, of course) and is very well done in that respect, with the exception of Herbert’s Dad’s Yorkshire which was a little, er, undefinable in origin. The cast are perhaps more uniformly competent than the London one we saw, which allowed lesser characters like Patsy to shine. But there was no stand-out like Hannah Waddingham‘s Lady of the Lake in London. Mind you, the “little and large” combination of Tim Curry and Hannah Waddingham was sadly missed in terms of staging impact.
Did I laugh, despite it being the second time I’d seen Spamalot? You bet. Did Mrs R enjoy it, not having seen it before, and not particularly liking Monty Python? Yes, she did. A really good night out, and a production which looks very much at home in Vegas.