Camden New Journal
Publications by New Journal Enterprises
  Home Archive Competition Jobs Tickets Accommodation Dating Contact us
Published: 19 October 2006
Python fans will love this ‘rip-off’

Palace Theatre

IT was hard to stop laughing when this slice of gloriously silly Monty Python plagiarism finally began when the celebrity audience eventually sat down on Tuesday night.
Eric Idle openly admits that Spamalot has been “lovingly ripped-off” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and, indeed, it features huge swathes of the film’s most familiar and hilarious moments.
Apart from the odd adaptation in order to help along the plot surrounding King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail, the best sketches from the film are all here. There are the Knights who say Ni and demand a shrubbery, the Black Knight – the one who refuses to accept defeat despite having his arms and legs cut off in battle – and the peasant, knee deep in filth telling the king he is part of an anarcho-syndicalist commune and not one of his subjects.
The songs are wonderful, all glorious send ups of musical standards. Andrew Lloyd-Webber is a target in the pastiche ballad The Song that Goes Like This, with a powerful, but predictable, melody and requisite key changes.
And there is nice bit of traditional Python offensiveness in You Won’t Succeed as knight Sir Robin warns King Arthur he will never get anywhere in the West End unless he has a Jew by his side – perhaps a joke that would have felt more at home in the Shubert Theatre in New York but it is impossible not to laugh at high-kicking klezmer around a giant star of David.
One of the criticisms of Python was always that they were incapable of writing parts for women unless it involved long legs and heaving breasts.
Here, such a flaw is dealt with as the Lady of the Lake emerges halfway through Act II to sing a song bemoaning her role in The Diva’s Lament.
And Idle, not one to ignore his biggest hits, brings in Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, from the Life of Brian, to really please the crowd.
Tim Curry is good as the befuddled King Arthur but the stand-outs are Tim Goodman-Hill, who revels in his several roles, gay Sir Lancelot, the leader of the Knights who say Ni and Tim the Enchanter, and the statuesque Hannah Waddingham, who gets to exploit the full range of her excellent singing voice.
Python fans will love it and keep coming back for more, no doubt dragging the unbelievers behind them.

Book Now
Until May 2007
CNJ booking line: 0870 040 0070

» A-Z of Theatre
» Local Reviews
» Local Listings
» West End Reviews
» West End Listings
» Theatre Tickets
» Theatre & Hotel Packages


Theatre Music
Arts & Events Attractions