Run away! Eric Idle’s Broadway musical, ‘lovingly ripped off’ from the 1977 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is so good even normal people like it.
Not long after a beloved uncle introduced me to the 1977 film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, I often found myself uncontrollably sawing coconuts in half while humming the ‘Brave Sir Robin’ song.
I recall more than once galloping, without a horse, the length and breadth of public spaces, oblivious to the stares of those around me who could not hear the Grail soundtrack playing in my head.
That, however, was childhood. Such things are best left behind … right?
Not so fast. Just when you thought it was safe to glance at coconuts again, Eric Idle has delivered a booster shot to reignite a love for all things Grail.
‘Spamalot’, Mr. Idle’s Broadway musical inspired by the film, is a home run and adds another rich layer to the Grail legend.
Mr. Idle is a member of the Python group and played several characters in the movie, so he knew to keep ‘Spamalot’ faithful enough to the film to appease hardcore fans.
Surprisingly, however, it is also strong enough to win over those who never made that perilous walk across the Bridge of Death back in the 1970s.
‘Spamalot’ soared at Sunday’s Tony Awards, for example, picking up Best Musical, Best Director (Mike Nichols) and Featured Actress (Sara Ramirez).
This success, to my relief, proves that ‘Spamalot’ is more than a desperate fix for losers who can’t let go of a silly old film.
Even normal people, folks with schooling and culture, like it too.
In a weird way ‘Spamalot”s success is validation. It’s as if the world finally caught up to my preteen tastes.
In a time when Hollywood turns out far too many remakes that don’t improve on the originals, Mr. Idle reminds us that it is possible to take old themes to new places.
Despite what the poster says, ‘Spamalot’ is no rip-off of the film. It’s creative, fresh and adds plenty of new laughs.
Most of the movie’s classic scenes are present and supercharged with memorable new songs. My 7 year-old son’s favorite was the hilarious musical adaptation of the film’s ‘Bring out Your Dead’ scene.
There is just something about plague victims singing and dancing that makes you giggle.
My most cherished bit of the play, however, wasn’t even funny.
Leave it to Eric Idle to drop a bolt of pure inspiration into the middle of a forest thick with silliness.
‘Find Your Grail’, forcefully sung by the Lady of the Lake (Sara Ramirez) and King Arthur (Tim Curry), caught me completely by surprise. It’s an incredibly powerful and uplifting anthem to pursuing dreams. I kept wondering if a punch line was coming, but one never did.
In true Python style, Mr. Idle slipped in a serious boost for the soul amidst all the funny, oppressed peasants, dancing dead people and limbless knights. During the song, I glanced at my son and saw that it had captured him as well. It kindled a glow of confidence in his eyes capable of lifting him to the summit of any mountain his future holds.
It doesn’t get better than this, sitting front row, center, in a Broadway theater, reliving my all-time favorite comedy with my boy. Just like my uncle long ago, I have dutifully passed the baton-uh, grail-to the next generation.