In the pantheon of comedy films, none can compare to the sheer wackiness of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The beloved comedy troupe’s send up of Arthurian legend is brimming with insane jokes and infinitely quotable one-liners. Clearly it was the perfect inspiration for a Broadway musical. One of the original Pythons, Eric Idle, decided in 2004 to turn the classic comedy into a musical, and thus “Monty Python’s Spamalot” was born.
Telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and their quest for the Holy Grail, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” features a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight.
While the production itself differs from the film in some ways, most notably giving a part to the Lady of the Lake (who never appeared in the film but was mentioned), the play is a loving adaptation of the film that reinterprets many of the movie’s classic moments while adding song and dance to the mix. The play was so well received it won a Tony Award for Best Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical in 2005. Now the critically acclaimed play is coming to the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday, with a special deal on student rush tickets two hours before the show.
If you’ve never seen Broadway caliber live theater, this is an excellent chance to check it out. The tickets are cheap, especially considering the normal ticket prices for this show, and you are guaranteed to laugh the whole time. The cast is experienced in their “Spamalot” ways and it would make an excellent date night idea.
We got the chance to talk to Joe Beuerlein, who plays Prince Herbert, about the show, touring and why college students should see the show. This is not Beuerlein’s first rodeo; he toured with “Spamalot” last year as well, and spent his childhood quoting Monty Python to the joy of his parents.
Beuerlein is also in the unique position of perfoming alongside his college best friend Thomas Demarcus, who plays his father. The two have an iconic scene together adopted from the film, and their frienship makes the onstage chemistry that much better. The close knit cast of “Spamalot” add an element of magic to the already hilarious script, playing off one another for a unique show every night. The audience members who pay attention to the little details in the show will see this connection, and be rewarded with a few on-stage surprises.
“There are always surprises on stage,” Beuerlein said. “If the main characters are talking on stage, that’s all well and good and you should watch that, but if you’re watching the minor characters in the background they are also acting and performing. There are always little jokes and Easter eggs for you to find and enjoy. That’s why the show is rewatchable.”
Of his favorite scenes, Beuerlein maintained that in typical actor style, his parts steal the show.
“Mostly when I’m center stage,” he said. “That’s when the show really kicks off.”
While he may kid, every scene in this show is a must watch. Every scene is high energy and amusing, just like the classic “Monty Python” skits. Even if musical theater doesn’t seem like your thing, Beuerlein pointed out that it’s worth seeing just for the experience.
“You can watch the movie and that’s one thing but it’s static and it never changes,” he said. “But seeing live actors on the stage, anything could happen and it often does. It’s a moving, living piece of art and it’s a really good moving living piece of art. It’s a really fun time. It’s worth the investment to see this kind of entertainment.”
The show begins at 8 p.m. Saturday. Regular price tickets are still available for $39, $49 and $59 and are on sale now at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster.com. Student rush tickets will be available 2 hours before the show for $25.