Looking on the Bright Side of Life
Six years before Saturday Night Live hit American airwaves, another sketch comedy show was making waves across the pond. It was bold. It was innovative. It was completely bizarre.
It was Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The entire show was written and produced by six of the most brilliant comedians to ever escape from Great Britain: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Ask any Anglophile and they’ll tell you that this scruffy group of Brits revolutionized the comedy world when they hit the scene in 1969.
In their world, the standard rules of “successful” television comedy series were unceremoniously chucked out of the window. Taking their place was an environment where anything could happen at any time, no matter how ridiculous or unconventional. The Pythons became masters of the absurd, playing their most ludicrous scenarios with absolute sincerity. Their willingness to try anything at least once opened doors for modern sketch comedy as we know it. The Pythons were never trying to be the societal standard of funny. In the end, that is what made them hilarious.
After four seasons on air, the Python Empire expanded to the silver screen. And, arguably, one of their biggest successes was the cult classic MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. Loved by critics and Python fanatics alike, this monumental film was once heralded by Vincent Canby of the New York Times as “a marvelously particular kind of lunatic endeavor.” Its jokes live on to this day. “What…is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” “It’s just a flesh wound.” “Bring out your dead!” Even if you’ve never seen the movie, these quotes have probably been stalking your conversations for years.
And now, they’re stalking your theatrical experiences. This beloved film’s musical adaptation, spearheaded by Idle himself with music by John Du Prez, became an instant Broadway blockbuster. SPAMALOT adds up to a wildly comical musical that “raises silliness to an art form” (The Sunday Times) and has been hailed as “a no-holds-barred smash hit” (The New Yorker). From the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog to the Knights who say Ni, this spectacle of the stage remains faithful to its source, lovingly stealing the most cherished jokes from the movie while adding a few zingers of its own—all with infectious tunes and show-stopping musical numbers.
QCT’s adaptation captures the absurd spirit of Monty Python not just by preserving the jokes, but by doubling its cast as well. As each of the original Pythons do in the film, this talented cast of 18 will play not one, but multiple roles to build the ludicrous interpretation of medieval England.
“In casting the show, it was very important to me to stay true to the spirit of Python and use the same actors in multiple roles,” commented Artistic Director Brandon Thomsen. “I was hoping we would find actors who could take on a plethora of characterizations, and we did! This cast is hilarious, and I have never laughed so much in rehearsals.”
Forty-six years later, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL is still one of the funniest things you’ll see—on the screen and now, on our stage.
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