[personal profile] seamus
I have very little to add to Darien's assessment of Spamalot - it is indeed a cringingly uninventive rehash of the film contaminated with a faint patina of theatrical injokes (multiple, belaboured Les Mis visual nods, some nonsensical metadramatic songs about songs about songs, the addition of some irrelevant diva to the "plot" presumably on grounds that an all-male comedy would fail to satisfy the audience's idle lechery). My very favourite line from the film ("on second thoughts let's not go to Camelot - it is a silly place") was also excised for no obvious reason. One genuinely funny sequence was added, speculating as to how an all-knowing all-seeing god might go about losing a cup. I liked that rather a lot, though if I had to bet I would bet that it was not new material at all but some lines that were cut from the original film back in the day. It did not in any case justify the expense of two tickets.

The one thing that struck me especially hard was that with all the Python material to draw on, the only bit of Life of Brian that made it into the show was "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". I am merely speculating here, but I very much fear that the decision to base the Monty Python musical on Grail rather than Brian was made not on the basis of comedic impact but on a fear that America's religious right would march down Broadway with burning torches if anyone tried to restage the famous crucifixion send-up. I rather fear than in the 31 (31!) years since Brian was made our culture has taken an appallingly retrograde step in its willingness to pander to censors and the militantly offended of at least two notable religious camps.

That is, after all, just speculation. Perhaps they thought of staging Brian but just couldn't make it funny. Though I must confess that leaves me puzzled as to how much harder it could have been to carbon-copy the script of Brian over from screen to stage than it was to carbon-copy the script of Grail. And why no-one considered that the film actually containing Eric Idle's iconic musical hit would not make a better musical than one containing only the foolish Camelot ditty - from which the punchline was in any case omitted - especially given that "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" was in any case inelegantly crammed in.
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July 2009


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