Last weekend, msmemory and I went to New York to see Spamalot as her Xmas present. (Thanks to mknauer for pointing me at a date that had a couple of tickets left!)
The show's self-description of "lovingly ripped off from the movie" is pretty accurate. Many individual bits are directly lifted from the film, sometimes word-for-word, but a lot of the story has been changed and/or rearranged to suit the new medium. Just as a bunch of the movie is a parody of movies, the musical is very much a parody of musicals. The play often breaks down the fourth wall and dances in the rubble, and the character of The Lady of the Lake exists largely to inject self-referential humor scattered randomly throughout. A lot of the humor of the movie is mutated to fit the new form -- for example, the movie's credits (replete with Finland jokes) get transmogrified into the Playbill for the show.
The writing and acting were both solid and consistent -- never exactly deep, but you don't expect deep from Monty Python. Tim Curry was born to play King Arthur -- his bemused grin and supreme confidence suit the part well. I'd been rather mystified through much of the show why David Hyde Pierce (playing Sir Robin) got first billing, but he walks off with the show in the second-act number "You've Got to Have Jews". Indeed, many of the characters (including Alan Tydyk's Lancelot) get their big numbers in the second act, when the plot begins to wander far afield from the movie.
Other than that, New York was New York. I was mostly struck by the transformation of Times Square into a set from Blade Runner, with multi-story screens wrapping around almost every building in a frenzy of commercialization. We did get a chance to spend an hour prowling around The Strand (the largest used bookstore anywhere), which proves to have been rearranged for the better -- the organization within sections is a lot more consistent than it used to be (not that it could have been worse), and they've opened a whole new floor for the now mammoth art-book section. Sadly, Forbidden Planet, once one of our favorite SF bookstores, has gone a bit downhill: their comics selection is still supreme, but the bookshelves are almost a footnote at this point.
Now that we're into September, Demo Season is in full swing. hfcougar has blessedly taken over the official Borough Liaison role, but I'm still helping out when I can. There have been two activities so far.
The MIT Midway was last Friday, and was the same chaotic fun I expect from it. As usual we had too many people and too much stuff, but that's generally a strength -- we were eye-catching, and got a pretty good crop of freshman potential. (Including one guy at the beginning who must have said "This is so *awesome*!" at least 30 times in five minutes.) Hopefully a fair number of them will be intrigued enough to show up tonight for the first meeting.
Fenmere's first meeting was last night, and seemed to go quite well. I like the new co-provosts -- one is the quiet-but-organized type and the other does the infectious enthusiasm game perhaps even better than me, so they look to make a good pair. There was a reasonable crowd of interested newbies, and several of them look likely to stay. I suspect that having the Novice Schola there this weekend will prove to be really great timing, and there was a lot of interest in it. And it's looking like there may be a serious fighting core there that could gel nicely.
This past weekend was mainly focused on the house project -- the slow-but-steady movement towards finding a house that suits us better. Having discovered that Susana has become a professional buyer's agent, we decided to team with her: we know and trust her, and are confident we can work with her on that. I suspect that that step will help to move the project along; we spent a long time talking about how the process works, and which steps we ought to be taking in which order. And I spent Monday priming the bathroom -- two decades of neglect had done the paint job no favors, so we're sprucing it up. It's a little thing, but getting my hands a little dirty working on the house does feel good...