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Sam S. Shubert Theatre, Broadway Book & Lyrics by Eric Idle; Music by John du Prez & Eric Idle

I hate you, Eric Idle.

No, no, no! Stop all that twitty singing and coco-nutty tap-dancing, and pay careful heed: I HATE YOU!

theatre: monty python's spamalot I hate you for creating a hybrid of Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance and Warner Brothers' classic Loony Tunes that has left those venerable gentlemen pirouetting in their graves. But they're getting better! Especially if God lets them ride His foot down into that special A-row seat now and then.

I hate you for catapulting my expectations over the French Castle's wall along with la vache (definitely dead, probably of Mad Cow disease, and not getting better), the generally-directed flatulence (smells dead), and the colossal wooden Easter Bunny (sounds dead, as well it should).

I hate you for evoking cultural icons including Don Quixote, Rudy Giuliani, the Flying Nun and Carmen Miranda in ways that shall force me to fork more of my starving-artist dough into your bulging pockets simply to catch all the nuances I missed the first time. I cherish a sneaking suspicion you plan to alter those nuances, too, just to keep me forking over the dough -- which, I hasten to point out, does not grow on the trees in my woods as it does in your Very Expensive Forest.

New York's Schubert Theater, home of Monty Python's Spamalot. (Photos by Kim D. Headlee.)

I hate you for casting Tim Curry as an Arthur whose singing fondly reminds me of Richard Burton in Camelot, and for casting Sara Ramirez as the Lady of the Lake. Her Nile-sized vocal range and oozing comedic talent could surely charm the fishes into the trees of said Very Expensive Forest. Or at least out of Prince Herbert's muddy swamp. The relationship between Arthur and the Lady of the Lake left no doubt that it had been forged in the churn of Niagara Falls.

And I most super-ultra especially hate you for hiring Christopher Sieber to play Sir Dennis Galahad as a cross between the Lancelot character in the 1999 Merlin miniseries and Shrek 2's Prince Charming, replete with flip-able, flowing blond locks because I cannot take Galahad -- er, Dennis -- home with me, dammit!

The posters were the only stationary element in the show. This tableau features (from left to right) David Hyde Pierce (Sir Robin), Tim Curry (King Arthur) and Hank Azaria (Sir Lancelot).

I feel immensely thankful, however, that you held the show's performance length under 2.5 hours, quite unlike Lerner & Lowe's undisciplined Broadway debut of Camelot, half a thousand months ago, because if I had laughed any longer -- or harder, for that matter -- my only recourse would have been to soil my armor and run away, run away!

I dock Spamalot half a crescent for leading me through three-quarters of the quest, teasing me into believing I'd be able to let my nine-year-old, rabid-rabbit Python fan of a daughter see your bloody show, before shattering that expectation in a most spectacular way that makes Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" look like the climax of Mrs. Doubtfire. So now I must wait until my daughter turns 16 before exposing her to this magical theatric experience that, quite simply, must not be missed by anyone over that age capable of laughing not only at the world's foibles, but at the foibles Spamalot causes one to see within oneself.

But I do believe your "new musical lovingly ripped off" from Monty Python & the Holy Grail shall be playing at the Shubert on that blessed day, seven years hence and forevermore, amen!

I hate you, Eric Idle, for leaving me no choice but to adore Monty Python's Spamalot. Good show, old chap. Jolly good show, indeed.

Kim D. Headlee

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