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"All for one, one for all
—"All For One"
A 2005 musical "lovingly ripped off" from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, thus sharing many of the same tropes. Nominated for fourteen Tony Awards, of which it won three, including Best Musical. The original cast included Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, Sara Ramirez, and Christopher Sieber.
In May 2018, 20th Century Fox announced a film adaptation is in works with Idle writing the script and Casey Nicholaw attached to direct. The film is reportedly being fast tracked with casting announced soon and shooting to begin in early 2019.
The 'plot' is introduced by the historian, who gives an overview of the setting: medieval England. Naturally, the cast goes on to sing a song about Finland (also using the opportunity to perform the famous Fish-Slapping Dance). After this misunderstanding is cleared up, King Arthur and his servant Patsy arrive on the scene in search of knights for the round table. They promptly get into an argument about swallows with some French guards.
Later, Arthur and Patsy find Robin, a plague victim collector, and Lancelot, who is trying to dispose of a man who turns out to be "Not Dead Yet" and convince them to join the quest. Next, Arthur comes across a politically active peasant named Dennis, who denies Arthur's right to rule. To change his mind, Arthur summons the Lady of the Lake, who convinces Dennis to become Sir Galahad. Somewhere, they also pick up Sir Bedevere (and the aptly-named Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show).
After arriving in a Las Vegas inspired Camelot, the knights are contacted by the voice of God (a recording of John Cleese or in the touring production, Eric Idle) who wants them to search for the Holy Grail. They set out immediately, but are defeated by the incessant taunting of their French enemies. The knights become separated and Arthur ends up in a "dark and very expensive forest", where he is "All Alone" (sort of). He then meets the Knights Who Say Ni, for which he and Patsy go off to find a shrubbery.
Meanwhile, Sir Robin is being annoyed by his minstrels when he happens upon the Black Knight. Robin is terrified, but Arthur bursts on the scene and defeats the Black Knight more or less how one would expect. The KWSN want their shrubbery to be in a Broadway musical. Robin tells Arthur he cannot have a good musical without Jews, so he and Patsy go off to look for some.
Meanwhile, the Lady of the Lake complains about her lack of stage time. Sir Lancelot storms a castle to save who he believes is a princess in distress. Naturally, it turns out to be Prince Herbert, a musically-inclined lad with a music-hating father. Everyone thinks Lancelot is gay.
Patsy reveals he is Jewish, so Arthur can resume his quest for the Holy Grail. Reunited with the others, Arthur encounters Tim the Enchanter, who warns then about an evil rabbit. They defeat the rabbit with Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch and proceed to find the Holy Grail under the seat of an audience member. Arthur marries the Lady of the Lake who turns out to be Guinevere, Prince Herbert finally gets to sing and marries Sir Lancelot, and Sir Robin decides to go into musical theater.
Includes examples of:
- Acting for Two: Just like in the movie, even with the Composite Character effect going on, most of the actors play several roles.
- Affirmative Action Girl: The Lady of the Lake. The female characters in the movie are at most OneSceneWonders and the Lady of the Lake (though mentioned) didn't appear at all. Which makes her singing about her lack of stage time in the musical even funnier.
- Ascended Extra: Patsy has a much larger role in the musical than he did in the movie, essentially replacing Bedevere as Arthur's constant companion.
- Audience Participation: The knights discover that the Grail's location is underneath a seat in the audience (The exact seat depends on the seat labeling conventions of the theater). The person sitting there is subsequently brought onstage and given the award for "Most Helpful Peasant".
- Award Bait Song: Parodied in "The Song That Goes Like This"; played straight in "Find Your Grail."
- Berserk Button: Are you an uncaring, unloving, and/or just plain abusive father? Stay the hell away from Lancelot. Although even if you're not, he'll probably find some reason to kill you
- Composite Character: Galahad, Lancelot and Robin are all combined with One-Scene Wonder characters played by their respective actors in the movie -- hence, Galahad is now the same person as Dennis the anarcho-syndicalist peasant (both of whom were played by Michael Palin in the movie), Robin and Lancelot are the plague victim collector and his quarrelsome customer (Eric Idle and John Cleese, respectively).
- Contrived Coincidence: The Lady of the Lake is also Guinevere. This combined with purposeful Adaptation Decay of the myth gets lampshaded by one of the knights swearing loudly about how ridiculous this is.
- Crowd Song: "Fisch Schlapping Song".
- Demoted to Extra: In "Holy Grail", Bedevere was the only knight to make it to the end with King Arthur and led the witch trial. In "Spamalot", he doesn't even get his own recruitment scene, and his iconic helmet is missing until Act II.
- Evolving Music: The lyrics of "The Diva's Lament" -- in which the female lead mentions not having won any awards -- after the show did quite well at the Tony awards.
- The UK tour changes "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" to a song about needing stars, since You Have to Have Jews is a predominantly American trope, whereas in Britain most touring musical productions tend to have at least one soap opera actor/reality TV star/broadcast comedian in the cast.
- A tap dance sequence was added for Harry Groener during his Broadway run as King Arthur.
- Hard Gay: Lancelot, who up until then gave no hints of his sexuality, and was unaware of it himself.
- ...unless you buy the more expensive playbook, in which case his dream is explicitly stated to be to open an fabric store.
- Incredibly Lame Pun
Arthur: "It's a symbol!" *cymbal crash* Arthur glares at orchestra pit
- Innocent Innuendo: Tim yells out "BLOW ME!" He means "Below me."
- Interactive Narrator: The Historian.
- King Arthur: Well, yeah...
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: "Come With Me" and "The Song That Goes Like This" is the Lady of the Lake assuring that any knights of the Round Table are not virgins.
- Medium Awareness: Several characters, leading them to break the fourth wall at times.
- Prince Herbert's father threatens the folks in the orchestra pit when they start playing for Herbert.
- Mythology Gag: The musical includes a Non Sequitur segue into material involving a Scandinavian country and the song "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life".
- "Beautiful bird, the African swallow. Lovely plummage."
- The playbill has a hilarious fake bio page for "DIK TRIAANENEN FOL", supposedly a show that features the East Finland Moose Ballet "45 magnificent creatures in high-stepping harmony."
- One-Scene Wonder: John Cleese, despite appearing only as a vocal recording, does a very amusing performance as God.
- One scene near the end has two: Tim the Enchanter and Brother Maynard.
- Not Quite Dead: 'Not-Dead-Fred', among others.
- Patter Song: "You Won't Succeed on Broadway."
- Playing Against Type: Tim Curry as King Arthur.
- Precision F-Strike: For the show, John Cleese re-recorded his dialogue as God. Part of it was an ad-libbed "Of course it's a good idea, I'm fucking God!"
- Scooby Stack: Done by the French Knights when they come upon the wooden rabbit.
- Screen to Stage Adaptation
- Shaped Like Itself: The Song That Goes Like This
- Shout-Out: "Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show" is Don Quixote. Even funnier is that a revival of Man of La Mancha was going on right down the street when Spamalot premiered.
- And in an off-broadway traveling version of the show, Don Quixote was one of the former roles of the actor who plays King Arthur.
- And in one scene the knights are attacked by an army of French stereotypes. One of which was a woman dressed up like Eponine from Les Misérables.
- The bottle dance from Fiddler On the Roof is re-enacted in "You Won't Succeed On Broadway". With Grails.
- The traveling show also acknowledges their current city in some form when the Knights-Who-Say-Ni no longer say "Ni."
- Or one time in New Enlgand production, where a soccer cup final was going on, the Head Knight ended his rant with "GOOOOOOOAAAALLLLL!...it's one-one in the second half!" to the applause of many men in the audiance.
- Can crop up in improvised segments, such as the French insults. (e.g. "I headbutt you in the chest!")
- The boat in "The Song That Goes Like This" is very similar to that from "The Phantom of the Opera".
- In early April, the KWSN's new thing to say ended with "oh, don't feel bad, Santorum, it's not like you had a chance in any case," which got a rousing cheer from the San Francisco audience.
- Sight Gag: "Hay!" from "You Won't Succeed On Broadway".
- Lancelot's banana
- "Skip a little"
- Silly Love Songs: "The Song That Goes Like This" is a parody, specifically of ones in Andrew Lloyd Webber productions.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Most of the characters who were killed off in the movie, survive in the musical.
- Stylistic Suck: When the Holy Hand Grenade kills the Killer Rabbit, the set piece that's in front of it falls over revealing the rabbit's puppeteer. This is clearly intentional, because the puppeteer and the knights stare at each other for a moment, before he points behind them and runs offstage as the knights turn around.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Double subverted. Near the end of Act I, King Arthur sings "Have a drink and a pee/We'll be back for Act III" but there are only two acts. Patsy corrects him and he sings the correct word. The actual playbill actually labels the acts as Act 2 and Act 3 under where the scenes/songs are. However, during the intermission, the animated hand writes "Act III" before correcting itself and erasing one of the I's.
- Suddenly Ethnicity: Patsy turns out to be Jewish.
- Well, half-Jewish.
- Take That: The Quest turns out to be to put on a musical in [insert city location] "as long as it isn't an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical". The cast procedes to cut themselves with their swords and kill themselves by a Webber tune.
- The Trope Formerly Known as X
- Visual Innuendo: Herbert's fruit hat during "His Name is Lancelot" in the final pose where the hat's banana is sticking up right in front of Lancelot's crotch.
- Visual Pun: When Brother Maynard is taking too long on the foods to be feasted upon, King Arthur tells Maynard to "skip a little". So he... skips in place. For some reason, this is possibly the funniest sight gag in the show, perhaps because the audience is familiar with the scene from the film and this modifies it.
- Viva Las Vegas: The design and atmosphere of Camelot is a parody of the Las Vegas casino Excalibur.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The play had a run at the Wynn casino resort in Vegas.
- Wandering Minstrel: As in the movie, Brave, brave Sir Robin has a group of them follow wherever he goes.
- You Have to Have Jews: The Trope Namer.