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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Press views: Spamalot
Spamalot
Spamalot has been backed by all the surviving Pythons
Monty Python's award-winning musical Spamalot has opened in London's West End at the Palace Theatre.

The musical, written by Eric Idle and based on the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, opened on Broadway last year and won three Tony awards.

The musical was embraced in the US, it remains to be seen how the UK will receive it but here critics give their opinion of the opening night show.

EVENING STANDARD - NICHOLAS DE JONGH

Spamalot gives a welcome new twist to the term musical comedy.

It pokes fun at musicals like Camelot that treat King Arthur and all the grail business as if these things happened the day before yesterday.

THE TIMES - BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE

London is less narcissistically obsessed with its theatre than New York, and the idea worked better when Arthur's destination was the place where the musical was first staged: Broadway.

Never mind. It's hard to resist a show which, with jokes about Tom Goodman Hill's gay Lancelot and his predilection for Darren Southworth's demure Herbert adding to the fun, remains cheerfully mischievous throughout.

THE MIRROR - ALUN PALMER

The new musical Spamalot shows that, 30 years on, Monty Python can still reach out to a new generation.

Tim Curry, as Arthur, plays it straight with a deadpan, bemused air as all around descends into undergraduate high jinks. The show plunders shamelessly from Python's classic sketches.

Monty Python's circus is well and truly flying high.

THE INDEPENDENT - PAUL TAYLOR

So what kind of musical is Spamalot? Well, it's a hysterical collision between the barking nonsense and bite of Python and the whole crazy shebang of US showbiz.

It leaves you that high and weak with laughter, thanks not just to the Python provenance of the basic material but to the phenomenal speed, wit, cheek and showbiz knowingness of the direction, which is by the great veteran, Mike Nichols.

THE GUARDIAN - MICHAEL BILLINGTONN

In short, the show has its moments; and Tim Hatley's sets and costumes carefully preserve the air of a low-tech medieval pantomime.

There simply comes a point when I, for one, weary of old jokes and tongue-in-cheek send-ups of Arthurian ideals and musical clichés. Irony has its place but it's not quite enough to sustain a whole evening.

With hand on heart, I'd much rather watch Lerner and Loewe's Camelot than Eric Idle's smart-arsed Spamalot.

THE TELEGRAPH - CHARLES SPENCER

There has never been a sillier musical than this, or one more calculated to appeal to the British sense of humour.

Already a hit on Broadway there is a genuine sense that the show has come home with its arrival at the Palace.

The gags about Jews perhaps don't work quite as well as they do in New York, but otherwise the show seems to me to be sharper, funnier and warmer than it did on Broadway.




SEE ALSO
Pythons unite for South Bank Show
29 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Spamalot launch is all a bit silly
21 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Python launches West End Spamalot
21 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Spamalot takes US critics awards
09 May 05 |  Entertainment

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