This past Sunday gnomi and I had two events to attend. One of them had been postponed from February 12, due to the snow, but fortunately it didn't end up conflicting with the other.
In the afternoon, we went to see "Monty Python's Spamalot" at the Colonial Theatre. This is the touring group, so the cast didn't include any of the more famous names that have been on Broadway. But honestly, it doesn't matter. Michael Siberry (King Arthur), David Turner (Sir Robin), Rick Holmes (Sir Lancelot), Bradley Dean (Sir Galahad), Pia Glenn (The Lady of the Lake), and the rest were delightful, whimsical, and absurd. I was intrigued by the way Eric Idle managed to adapt the movie into a muscial. The movie's plot is just a thread to link a bunch of funny sketches, and the movie has a "meta" quality to it, with a lot of breaking of the fourth wall. But the musical needed to have more of a plot, and breaking the fourth wall in a live performance allows for things that a film does not.
First, the plot. The musical linked the opening scenes of the movie by making the characters from the sketches turn out to be the knights. For example, the man calling for people to bring out their dead turns out to be Sir Robin, and the man who is carrying out a dead person turns out to be Sir Lancelot. The two of them go off together to join King Arthur. "Autonomous collective" Dennis turns out to be Sir Dennis Galahad, so Arthur recruits him. I thought it was a clever way to integrate the scenes and show how Arthur manages to gather his knights together.
As for breaking the fourth wall, reviewers have already noted that the musical includes songs and dialogue that make it clear that the characters know they are in a Broadway musical. But the fourth wall breaking I most enjoyed took place at the end, with the culmination of their quest for the holy grail. Technically this would count as a spoiler, although I can't imagine how the musical could be ruined by knowing the ending in advance. But just in case you want to skip it, I'll set it off and put it behind a cut.
Near the end of the musical, the knights have found a stone with the figure A101 carved into it. They determine that it means that the holy grail is hidden under seat A101. They walk into the audience, find the grail hidden under seat A101, and bring the person in that seat onto the stage to give her/him an award.
At least, that's what happened at the performance we went to. The woman in the seat was named Katherine Knight, and they put her name in a lyric. Nomi wondered if she was a plant, or if they had at least prepared her in advance. Her surprise at being called onto the stage seemed rather spontaneous to me, especially when she was reluctant at first to give them her incredibly appropriate surname. Has anyone reading this seen Spamalot and can tell me what happened at the end of the show they went to?
So that was our afternoon. In the evening, we went to the Library Winter Gala, a big event with music, dancing, socializing, and an auction, all to support the Brookline Library. Nomi and I talked with many people, including Dan Kimmel, Gary Wolf, Linda Barnes, and Jesse Mermell.