Monday, August 13, 2007

Spamalot

Watched only my third Broadway musical yesterday night, after Wicked and Sweeney Todd. As before, after the show was over, I wondered why I don't watch more musicals and plays than I do. They are usually such entertaining affairs. The cost is prohibitive but the money goes in other more insidious ways. Spamalot was hilarious, the second half was even better than the first. Not a Monty Python fan, I don't know how much the musical rips off or riffs off the TV show and film, but a lot of the musical makes fun of the genre itself. I love the rompish queering of the text. Launcelot, that perfect courtly lover in medieval lit, rescues a prince, instead of a maiden, in distress, and discovers his inner gay. Sir Robin, the coward, discovers his Grail in his talent and passion for, what else, broadway musicals. Yes, the humor, lacking verbal sophistication or strong set-up, relies heavily on visual gags and references to pop culture. But this musical succeeds by combining parody and paragon. It lays bare the creaky mechanisms of the genre, and celebrates them raucously at the same time. As the show tune goes, always look on the bright side of life...

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