Here's what you do on a globally-warmed singeing hot Sunday in the midst of a deep recession in LA: get in your American car, crank up the AC, and drive downtown to the Ahmanson Center as fast as you can and get the best seat you can afford to "Spamalot." Then laugh your ass off at the old Monty Python favorites like "I Am Not Dead Yet" and "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
John O'Hurley is King Arthur and his madcap crew includes the amazing Merle Dandridge as the Lady of the Lake, Christopher Sutton as both the hilarious "Not Dead Fred" and "Prince Herbert," Rick Holmes as Lancelot (yes, he "comes out" in the second act) and Ben Davis as the musical theater maven Sir Galahad.
I have to admit that "Bright Side" missed some of its deliciously dark incongruity for me by not being warbled by Jesus (oops, I mean Brian) from the cross, with harmony from the thieves, but that lacuna was almost completely redeemed by Prince Herbert's over-the-top renditions of "Where are You?" and Galahad's jazzy "You Won't Succeed on Broadway" ("unless you've got a Jew").
It's impossible not to feel joyously philosophical about life at the endearing, precocious finale, when the crew released clouds of giant confetti on the audience. Most of us joined in on the last refrains of "Bright Side," whistling from center front orchestra and mezzanine alike. Don't know if there were any Bernie Madoff victims or foreclosed inhabitants in the crowd, but for a minute we were all thumbing our noses at bad news and dreadful possibilities.