Python lovers — several of them racing to the St. James these days — require no further more instruction on the pedigree of this celebrated broadside. To all other folks, unschooled in the history of snooty Python insult humor, I say, with moderate contempt: Google it. (It being the 1975 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”)
This new “Spamalot” arrives, beefed up, gussied up and yes, even funnier than in its birthing engagement before this calendar year at the Kennedy Heart as component of its Broadway Heart Stage collection. Now that it is truly on Broadway, middle stage, the revival of the Tony-winning musical by Python excellent Eric Idle, with John Du Prez, brings pleasure to a land desperately short of guffaws and chuckles and snickers and giggles.
You’ll hear them all in the St. James, exactly where director-choreographer Josh Rhodes has assembled a crew of comedian actors with the serious mission of inciting most laughter. Allow me to phone the roll of the clowns in the retinue of King Arthur, performed with great, addled command by James Monroe Iglehart: There are Michael Urie, as a knight who’d alternatively be at a desk at Sardi’s than the round desk Nik Walker, a Sir Galahad crooning the inescapable tune in a musical that goes like this saucer-eyed Christopher Fitzgerald, participating in weak, ignored 2nd banana Patsy Ethan Slater, as, among other points, a peasant who is not useless still Jimmy Smagula, whose Sir Bedevere is both dumb and dumber and Killam, a Lancelot who finds his true sexual self, midway through the wood.
Am I leaving anybody out? I don’t assume — oh, hold out, sure. Enjoying the Woman of the Lake, an insufferable star in her individual thoughts, is an incandescent Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer. It is a position that calls for equally a just take-cost voice and a carnivore’s gift for landscapes-chewing. “Spamalot” uncovered the lady for the position in Kritzer, whose rendition of the “Diva’s Lament” in Act 2 presents her a sensational possibility to exhibit off her significant Broadway sound and the Lady’s more substantial Broadway moi. Brava diva, brava.
It has been eons given that the 1969 debut of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” the priceless British sketch comedy series carried out by Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam. And it’s been 18 many years, if you can imagine it, considering the fact that the premiere of this musical, established on the Python perception that all the things and all people can be taken down a peg or two. So it may demand some previously-embedded appreciation of the Pythons’ brand name of anarchy to wring all the probable satisfaction out of the display. Even so, it does not just take a doctorate in comedy to get up to velocity.
Sharp. Witty. Considerate. Indication up for the Type Memo publication.
“Spamalot” is animated by a loverly absence of regard for everything, which includes the time-honored conventions of the Broadway musical. Numerous jokes and quantities are lifted from other ventures, these as “Always Glance on the Bright Aspect of Daily life,” from the 1979 film “Monty Python’s Lifetime of Brian,” but the show’s greatest songs are encouraged theater spoofs. Among the them: Act 1’s “The Music That Goes Like This,” performed by Kritzer and Walker, and Act 2’s chic “You Won’t Do well on Broadway,” which spotlights the remarkable comedic skills of Urie, who could complete an overall musical comedy with his eyes.
Rhodes is the appropriate director for this assignment the jokes crackle, and the production numbers sparkle. It all feels calculated to consider you to your pleased spot. The design components — Paul Tate dePoo III’s sets and projections, Jen Caprio’s costumes, Cory Pattak’s lighting — are comprehensively fulfilling enhancements of their get the job done in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater again in May well. Fitzgerald, Slater and Killam, new to the output, healthy in seamlessly. And songs director John Bell and a 17-member orchestra, assisted by auditory designers Kai Harada and Haley Parcher, make it all seem so fantastic.
I try to remember the first creation in 2005 getting a giddy diversion. I chortled back again then. This time, I roared. What a present in attempting periods, to share in an uproarious working experience with certainly funny folks.
Monty Python’s Spamalot, guide and lyrics by Eric Idle, songs by Idle and John Du Prez. Directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes. Sets and projections, Paul Tate dePoo III new music course, John Bell costumes, Jen Caprio lights, Cory Pattak audio, Kai Harada and Haley Parcher orchestrations, Larry Hochman. About 2 hrs 20 minutes. At St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., New York. spamalotthemusical.com.