Flogging the pantomime horse he rode in on, founding Monty Python member Eric Idle continues down the path of avarice that he most recently descended in “Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python” (his stage revue of the Python musical oeuvre) with a new Broadway-bound production of Spamalot ? a musical redux of classic Brit-flick Monty Python & The Holy Grail.
The latest to join the cast of Idle’s idyll is Frasier star David Hyde Pierce who will trod the floorboards as Brave Sir Robin (the role originated by Idle). Rocky Horror Picture Show alumnus Tim Curry (the sweet transvestite from Transylvania-ah-ah) will don deceased Python Graham Chapman’s crown as King Arthur becoming the only Arthur capable of swallowing Excalibur.
As with Jerry Bruckheimer’s recently released King Arthur (starring Clive “I ain’t Bond” Owen), Idle’s source material, The Holy Grail, lacks a sword-and-stone scene, hasn’t much of a Merlin, and is missing the adulterous love-triangle-betrayal that historically resulted in Lancelot’s also getting poked. Let’s hope that Idle at least picks up a Guinevere this time around (Washington Post critic Stephen Hunter described Keira Knightley’s performance in Bruckheimer’s film as a “blood-drenched pagan Tinker Bell,” in other words, this reporter’s perfect woman).
No word from Hormel Foods, owner of the SPAM brand of canned meat, from which Idle takes his title by way of Camelot and the famed Python sketch in which Vikings croon “Spam, spam, spam, spam,” ad infinitum. The latter inspired nascent internet users to analogize the sketch and unsolicited e-mails. Hence spam. (read Hormel Foods official policy statement “SPAM and the Internet.”
Spamelot opens in December capping a jolly good year for Python fans, who regaled their Judeo-Christian paean to martyrdom The Life of Brian when it was pointedly re-released this year — on the bloody heels of The Passion of the Christ.