Overall, I give this a B, sliding towards a B minus. I saw this thanks to takayla, who gave this as a Christmas present to myself and CR.
There was a lot they did right. I saw the performance at the National Theater, and a majority of the cast was excellent. The musical numbers were stunning for such a small venue, the props were very clever, there was humor both fresh and classic, and enough new material mixed with old that makes seeing this worth it.
For those who have not seen it, it's about 50% of the story of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The plot is similar where King Arthur makes a quest for the Holy Grail, as deemed by God, and picks up his knights along the way. Some of the scenes from the movie are in there, albeit altered somewhat. The rest is completely different (ha ha). There's a new main character, "The Lady of the Lake" and her "Laker Girls." They break the fourth wall a lot; for instance there's a musical number where the Lady of the Lake is upset she hasn't been in Act II until just now. The orchestra gets cut off a lot. Mentioning how expensive certain sets were, and how the wires holding up Tim the Enchanter were "impressive and completely undetectable." There are a lot of local DC and current event jokes, so I assume that the DC cast had some flexibility with this.
The cast I saw were, for the most part, very good. The one glaring exception was the man playing Arthur, who dressed like Tim Curry, sounded like Tim Curry, but performed his part with such a rehearsed process, you'd think he was tired of the part and just wanted the evening over with, so he switched to autopilot. His lines lacked a punctual panache, which is essential for comedy. He rambled through his parts with emphasis on the last sentence only, which was awkward. In contrast, the person who played Sir Robin was excellent, and the Lady of the Lake (who was a substituted understudy that evening) was perfect. The rest of the cast supported well, and I am not sure they could have done any better because their parts were fairly unimportant to the main story.
There were certain scenes where I went, "How are they going to pull this off? How will they show the black knight getting ALL his limbs cut off? Oh, very clever!" use of props spanning the passing of time were particularly creative.
A few times the scenes suddenly skewed from the scenes in the movie. The French taunting, for instance, ends with a dance number by every French stereotype they could dress someone up in. The Knight's who No Longer Say "Ni" said a few verses from "My Humps," and demanded King Arthur put on a Broadway production (but can't, because "they don't have any Jews," which led to a VERY impressive musical number that spoofed "Fiddler on the Roof").
Those who are rabid quoters of the movie will cringe when the lines change ever so slightly. But will laugh at lines that don't seem like they would be funny to anyone else not familiar with their skits, lines like "beautiful plumage..."
The audience left a lot to be desired. While most of the audience seemed to be people who would appreciate Monty Python, there were a lot of people that struck me as... well, not the type. Old people in expensive fur coats, rich businessmen with hair plugs and their model-thin dates, and a fair amount of young children. But everyone seemed to have a good time, so perhaps the fault is my perception. Sadly, the rail-thin model next to me was wearing too much perfume. The man in front of my son farted when he laughed. The pre-teen girls in front of me were playing a Nintendo DS. A kid behind us looked like a dead ringer for Carrot-Top at age 7.
All in all, very funny. CR and I had a great time.
I attended a great Christmas party in McLean at anyarm's house. It was part of a sisterhood year end event that takayla hosts. There's little to say about it except I had a great time. I watched a dog the size of a greyhound wrestle with a Chihuahua puppy. As part of a blind gift exchange, I got a pizza set, complete with plates, cutter, and pan. yes, it was after Christmas, but no one could find time before Christmas that wasn't in mid-November.
My friend Jason is in town to see his parents. He's a great friend I have known since high school. We met in astronomy class back in 1986, and both of us wanted to be astrophysicists. Well, I was suddenly without parents at age 18 and had to get a crummy job to eat, but he went on to college and is now an Astronomy Professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona. He used to always stay at our house over New Year's, but in the last few years, has been staying with assorted relatives and just visiting us.
I wish I hung out with him more. I mean, in many ways he hasn't changed since we were teens, but in others he's got so much more experience. He teaches astronomy and physics with a bunch of other physicists and engineers where he is now. He's probably going to be in Daytona for a while, since he just bought a house, and there's a sales slump. Where he lives, you can watch shuttle launches go by overhead, even though Cape Canaveral is over 100 miles south. We have to visit him... as long as we don't have to drive through Jacksonville...