A standing ovation here for everyone involved in the extraordinary production of “Spamalot” at George Mason High School last weekend. In our book, it ranks as the single best musical comedy production performed there in the 26 years we’ve been covering the school, and that is a recognition we do not provide lightly. Its only competition overall since 1991 was the 2010 production of “Les Miserables,” with the late Samuel Waters in the lead, but, of course, that was not a comedy.
In fact, we’d go so far as to propose “Spamalot” be considered for an encore in the spring, instead of, or in addition to, what’s otherwise in store. That’s just our way of underscoring how good we thought it was.
Not only was it performed to a veritable tee, with the excellent timing being everything for making it really funny, but with an abundance of talent, as well, but it brought a measure of joy to the town that in these times needed it. With the kind of yoke (joke?) we collectively bear in the White House close by, reprising the fun that Eric Idle’s Tony Award winning play first brought to the Broadway stage in 2005 (based on the earlier also goofy Monty Python film from the 1970s) was remarkably refreshing. So was it, also, as a release and celebration of the City’s pressure cooker election this month that saw a referendum approving a bond for a new high school pass by a wide margin. We’ve deserved this show!
Another wacky suggestion: If you’re not crazy about Falls Church’s official slogan, “The Little City,” then why not call us “Spamalot”? Of course, our town is not goofy enough (yet) for that, and trying “Camelot” would be pretentious, though thinking of our City Council as the Knights of the Round Table is intriguing. Still our existing “The Little City” slogan, local genius marketer Matt Smith’s creation, is looking better and better by the day, and keeping it will be fine with us, especially from the standpoint that we should “Always Look at the Bright Side of Life.”
More than just laughs and joy, the high school’s choice of the production was laudable for its diversity-affirming qualities as well. With our new Superintendent of Schools in the audience, and our high school principal assuming a funny cameo part, the entire school system was behind the abundant welcome the play represented for all, including for its Lancelot character and his Herbert, who wound up dancing a marvelous bit to a song that proclaimed, “He can finally come out and say that he’s G.A.Y.(M.C.A.), He’s gay,” and concludes with the entire chorus yelling, “O.K.!” It brought the house down with rousing applause and cheers.
When the two characters at the end shared vows, the Lancelot character proclaimed, “Who would think that this would still be controversial 1,000 years from now?”