Spamalot Revival: In the enchanted realm of Broadway, where coconuts receive entrance applause, the whimsical revival of “Spamalot” unfolds at the St. James Theater. A jubilant homage to Monty Python’s absurdities, this production, directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes, meticulously preserves the beloved silliness that has ingrained itself in pop culture since the 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
The zany journey follows King Arthur (James Monroe Iglehart) and his loyal companion Patsy (Christopher Fitzgerald) as they seek knights for the “very round” table. The plot, as loosely assembled as a collection of skits, meanders through Camelot, prompting God’s command (voiced by Steve Martin) to pursue the holy grail. Amid the laughter, a plethora of familiar characters like the French taunter, self-flagellating monks, and a Trojan rabbit make their entrance, each eliciting joyous applause from the audience.
Despite the challenge of satisfying purists who revere the Python legacy, this revival successfully navigates the delicate balance. The cast, encouraged by Rhodes, injects personal touches, adding a contemporary twist to the iconic material. Michael Urie’s Sir Robin, delivering Idle’s original lines with a fresh comedic spin, exemplifies this approach. Taran Killam, portraying Lancelot and other quirky characters, infuses the French taunter with an outrageous accent and a raspberry aria worthy of Mozart.
Authenticity and humor intertwine seamlessly, exemplified when Lancelot rescues the damsel in distress, only to discover the character is a dopey prince named Herbert (Ethan Slater). The cast strikes the perfect balance between snark and sincerity, creating humor that transcends time. The show’s equal-opportunity offensiveness, poking fun at various groups, fosters an inoffensive atmosphere.
Amid the energetic ensemble, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, as the Lady of the Lake, steals the spotlight with her dazzling performance. In a headspace between Liza Minnelli and Celine Dion, Kritzer scats, belts, and ad-libs her way through the role, leaving an indelible mark on the production.
While some moments evoke the faint scent of mothballs, particularly in the projection-heavy scenic design, the revival breathes new life into Python’s classic sketches. Meta-moments and Broadway self-references, expertly crafted by Rhodes, contribute to the show’s vibrant atmosphere. The production leans into the evergreen nostalgia value of “Spamalot,” embracing both the uproarious and contemplative aspects of its vexed soul.
In the end, as the cast joyfully sings “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” the audience is reminded that even in the Middle Ages—or on Broadway—vexations can be assuaged by the timeless power of laughter. Just beware of seemingly harmless bunnies.