Spamalot was, quite frankly, a disappointment. Yes, it was good fun, but… Well, for starters, it didn’t help that our seats in the gods were terrible – cramped, and with an obstructed view of the front of the stage (and guess where most of the action takes place). There are large chunks of dialogue taken straight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but with performances which compare rather unfavourably – in fact with the exception of show-stealing Tim Curry and the Lady of the Lake, the cast were fairly mediocre. The other big problem is that the show was very obviously written for its original American audience and doesn’t entirely survive the transatlantic trip – the promised Anglicisation appears to be superficial and possibly even counter-productive – the song You Won’t Succeed now makes no sense at all.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot to like – the little comedic touches and throw-away Python references are great, and the set design is fantastic, and there are various neat special effects. I’m sure if I wasn’t already familiar with the original musical and the Broadway soundtrack, I’m sure it would have been much fresher and funnier, and quite possibly we caught them on a bad day. It just didn’t live up to the hype and the rave reviews.