Spamalot | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

This musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the 1975 screen parody of the King Arthur legend, achieves a very high level of tuneful hilarity. Monty Python standard-bearer Eric Idle's script, bolstered with songs by Idle and John Du Prez, is directed by comic genius Mike Nichols, who's assembled a crack cast headed by David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, powerhouse diva Sara Ramirez, and Rocky Horror Picture Show star Tim Curry. There's also a cameo voice-over by John Cleese as--who else?--God. Python fans will be gratified by the presence of many elements from the film, including the famed killer rabbit; musical-theater lovers will enjoy the cunning spoofs of classic Broadway shows; and some viewers at least will delight in the satire of religious militarism. Crucially, Nichols and his designers have captured Python animator Terry Gilliam's whimsical style with projected images and set pieces--the trademark Monty Python finger even descends from the rafters at the show's climax. Forget Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon; who needs chandeliers and helicopters when you've got the finger? Through 1/23: Tue 7:30 PM, Wed 2 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe, 312-902-1400, $25-$87.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joan Marcus.

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