When Monty Python’s Flying Circus first took the British airwaves by storm in the late 1960s, young Brits immediately started repeating the classic show’s various bits ad infinitum, and savvy Americans started speaking about an English version of the same irreverent humor that characterized Firesign Theater and George Carlin.
Before long, the Pythons – made up of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and animator/American interloper Terry Gilliam – were starting to release recordings that became collection mainstays in dorm rooms, a compilation film (And Now for Something Completely Different) and then their own feature films. The first of these, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, has become a standard (along with the later Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life) – and most recently the hit Broadway musical Monty Python’s Spamalot, which comes to the Hudson Valley via the enterprising troupe at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck starting this week.
Put together by Idle, who wrote the show’s book and its lyrics, Spamalot hilariously spoofs the exploits of the legendary King Arthur and his colorful Knights of the Round Table as they embark on their quest for the Holy Grail. It won Tonys and Grammies and, moreover, started a trend of similar film-to-stage, irreverent-comedians-come-to-Broadway works, including Book of Mormon.
The show’s big hits? How about killer rabbits, knights who won’t give up a fight and plays on the crazed word “Ni!”? It’s a hilarious show and, given the Center’s and Up in One Productions’ reputations, sure to be fun in its local run.
Monty Python’s Spamalot, October 4-27, Fridays/Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m., $26/$24, Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, 661 Route 308, east of Rhinebeck; (845) 876-3080, www.centerforperformingarts.org.