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Monday, June 26, 2017

Daegu Int'l Musical Festival, DIMF starts with the famous Spamalot

Daegu Citizen Press 2017

Spamalot opens at the Daegu Opera House
By Madeline Yochum


(Note: Spoilers ahead)
On Friday, June 23, the comedic musical Spamalot kicked off the 11th Daegu International Music Festival at the Daegu Opera House. Adapted from the British cult-classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this quick-witted musical kept the audience on their toes with a considerable amount of locally-inspired humor.



It’s a satirical take on a familiar storyline: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table minus all the dignity and glory. All of the actors and actresses matched their roles with perfectly-timed talent and humor. The liveliness of the Lady of the Lake was especially memorable, during her piece What Ever Happened to My Part? the sorta meta piece one would expect from Monty Python.


Although most of the dialogue and jokes carefully followed the same script as the film, there were some isolated surprises that kept the crowd entertained. Near the end of the second act, King Arthur asked the audience, “How do we find a star in Daegu?” to which the crowd roared with laughter. The cast also made references to Korean actors, Daegu’s makchang, and even a Korean yogurt brand.


Near the end of their quest, Arthur and his knights come across a clue patched on a stone that reads “BIO.” “What is BIO?” inquires one of his knight’s. “Perhaps some sort of yogurt.” quivers another. This is the kind of individualistic, rehearsed humor that made it’s opening in Korea and Daegu that much more special.

Next, the actors realize that “BIO” actually means seat “B10,” and calls up the audience member sitting in that seat to serenade him. It’s this sort of flighty and quick-witted humor that attracts most audience members.

Once the holy grail was retrieved, King Arthur marries the Lady of the Lake, ending this peculiar and extraordinary quest.

Spamalot’s comedy, though quick-witted and occasionally taboo, was enjoyed by all that night, as evidenced by the extended applause. 





After the performance, crowds gathered outside the Daegu Opera House to watch the Daegu International Musical Festival opening ceremony, late into the night.



Daegu Citizen Press 2017

DIMF/Monty Python’s Spamalot


By Mike Sizemore

The 11th Annual Daegu International Musical Festival kicked off Friday evening, June 23, 2017, with a delightfully idiotic choice – rather, the choice was perfect, the musical was idiotic. By intention, I mean. It was idiotic by design, we all cheered the heights of idiocy to which they scaled, and I believe a new standard of idiocy has been set in Daegu.


Let me backtrack. A fellow Daegu citizen press reporter and I were invited to attend DIMF’s opening night, including a performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Daegu Opera House. The Broadway smash hit’s international cast was passing through for just three days, long enough to turn the festival’s approach to musicals upside-down.


At the ceremony after the show, DIMF president Jang Ik-hyeon welcomed the audience and expressed his hope that this could be a new beginning for the festival. Bae Seung-hyuk, DIMF executive committee chairman, explained that the choice to start with Spamalot was made to strike a new tone and help the people of Daegu have a good laugh after a fairly turbulent year in Korea.

And it seemed to work, though at first I had my doubts. The show was performed in English, with subtitles. I thought Monty Python jokes are so much about wordplay and translating it out of English could easily kill half the jokes. But no, everyone in the crowd was chuckling and clapping and hooting at all the punchlines. Though the Monty Python crew has never shied from a well-placed fart joke; that always helps.


Spamalot is a rough adaptation of the 1975 comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The story follows the legendary King Arthur and the bumbling half-wits of his fabled Round Table on their god-given quest to find the titular treasure. (Though as they muse quite logically, if God is omnipotent, why doesn’t He know where it is already?) The film’s iconic scenes are all presented – the snotty Frenchman, the Knights Who Say Ni, the Black Knight, the Rabbit of Caebannog – but interwoven with hilarious songs that repeatedly break the fourth wall as characters wonder why they’re not getting more songs or crack jokes about wherever they are that night.



This year’s DIMF runs until July 10 and will feature a total of 26 musicals from Korea and eight other countries. Tickets are going fast! For more information and to order tickets, visit dimf.or.kr.

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