While millions of fans have made a hobby out of repeating Monty Python bits for the amusement of themselves and others over the years, Spamalot may be the first example of folks going pro with this pastime -- though Eric Idle's participation at least gives this the advantage of also being an official product. Spamalot is, of course, the stage musical loosely based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and while the original cast album only provides part of the experience, listening to the album will give many fans a very curious sense of deja vu -- some of these songs are drawn from the movie, albeit with a great deal more polish (such as "Brave Sir Robin" and "Knights of the Round Table"), and others translate business from the film into musical terms ("He Is Not Dead Yet" and "Run Away"), while "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" from Life of Brian is also thrown in for good measure. The score does manage a good bit of original silliness, though, including a number of amusing parodies of show tune clichés ("The Song That Goes Like This") and one truly inspired new laugh-generator, "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" ("...if you don't have any Jews"). In many respects, the Spamalot recording favors Broadway over Python; the material lacks the sharp edge of Python's best material, and the level of polish seems nearly antithetical to those old television shows and the low-budget film that inspired all this. But the songs are sprightly, the material is genuinely witty, and the cast is in fine fettle, especially David Hyde Pierce as Sir Robin and Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake. In short, this won't replace your copy of Another Monty Python Record, but Python fans will have fun with it, and it's a great trailer for the stage show.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
|Monty Python's Spamalot, musical play|