Sunday, January 27, 2008

Color Me Surprised: Clay Aiken Is Fantastic in Spamalot

If I'm being totally honest, I didn't go into today's matinee performance of Spamalot with the highest of expectations. Since it had been announced that Clay Aiken was joining the Broadway cast in the role of Sir Robin I've been dubious as to how good of a fit the American Idol runner-up and the Monty Python show would be.

Well color me very pleasantly surprised -- Clay was great!

His voice was, of course, fantastic, but it was his comic timing and his dancing that shocked me the most. From the moment he appeared on stage, he was totally, and delightfully, in character, and he maintained that commitment throughout the entire show. He delivered his lines like an old pro, and completely embraced his character's often quirky movement, footwork, and comic bits, even when they required him to make fun of himself.

Best of all -- he appeared to be having the time of his life. The often irreverent humor of the show seemed to fit him like a glove, and he imbued each of his scenes with what appeared to be a genuine sense of joy.

I was a big Clay supporter back in Season 2 of Idol, but his attitude the past several years has turned me off a bit to him. However, seeing him sing, dance, act, and laugh, I remembered the charming, dorky fella' who shocked us all with his pipes back on Idol. I half-expected him to be stiff and awkward -- instead, he was loose and relaxed, creating real chemistry with his co-stars.
Speaking of his co-stars, the cast is more solid and the show tighter than it's been since it first opened. As Sir Lancelot, Rick Holmes was a hoot and a half, and a more accomplished song-and-dance man than Hank Azaria, who created the role. Chris Seiber has returned to the show, and although he appears to have put on about 30lbs, he was funny as ever playing Sir Galahad. Tom Deckman played the roles originated by Christian Borle with a delightfully deadpan gaze plastered across his face, and Hannah Waddingham, imported from the British version of Spamalot, was perfection as the Lady of the Lake.

All in all, Clay and the cast have managed to make Spamalot a must-see once again.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to see someone who can admit when they were wrong about Clay. Actually, if you'd ever been to one of his concerts or seen him on a talk show, you would have had a clue as to just how naturally funny he is. I am puzzled about the "attitude" you assumed, however. Would that be his "attitude" when he payed his own way to Indonesia, Uganda, Afghanistan & Mexico on behalf of UNICEF to help victims of flood, famine, disease & war, putting himself in very real danger? Or perhaps you meant his "attitude" when he comes out after each concert to personally shake the hand of & say thanks to every single fan who lines up (often thousands)? Maybe you were referring to his "attitude" when he spends time most other celebs would be devoting to their career to keep his promise to work his butt off for disabled children with his Bubel/Aiken Foundation? Or was it the "attitude" displayed when he constantly promotes & supports his fellow AI alum & the judges, many of whom never return the favor & some of whom actively diss him in public because it's the cool thing to do? Or how about his "attitude" when he pays for a small fan & his family's room & board to share the stage with him & films it as a gift? Or maybe you meant the "attitude" that comes out in interviews where he never takes credit for any good thing he's done & constantly makes fun of himself & downplays his talent. What an attitude on that guy!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful review of Clay and Spamalot!

"but it was his comic timing and his dancing that shocked me the most. From the moment he appeared on stage, he was totally, and delightfully, in character, and he maintained that commitment throughout the entire show. He delivered his lines like an old pro, and completely embraced his character's often quirky movement, footwork, and comic bits, even when they required him to make fun of himself"

The Clay you saw is the Clay his fans know and have been seeing in his concerts He is a funny, charismatic guy who can do anything he sets his mind to do. And he has a blast doing it! We all have a wonderful time. He truly is multitalented!

I think your perception of his attitude has a lot to do with some bad and unwarranted press coverage. The press chooses to jump on anything that happens to him, twisting it to be controversial. For example: "He falls asleep on a plane and accidentally puts his foot on someone's armrest." Next thing you hear is HE was shoving someone.

He does so much good that is never reported. Good doesn't sell papers I guess.

Thanks for the brilliant well deserved review.

Anonymous said...

Awesome, I'm glad to hear he's doing so well! That is one hell of a talented man!! Wish I could get to the other side of the country to see it :(

BobbiSpecial said...

I was there this afternoon (1/27/08) and I totally agree with this review and will forward this on other sites because it really expresses how so many people feel about Clay Aiken, the wonderful, talented performer.
Thank you for writing this honest review.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the basically good review of the HUGELY talented CLAY AIKEN! IMO he is just the complete package. Clay has been honing that 'comedic' timing on his fans in all of his concerts . You should see those as well , he is just playing off his audiance each and every show !!
The comment I took exception too was your comment about his attitude. I have followed Clay closely for his entire run so far and I can tell you allot that you would think of as a poor attitude is made up in the press. Either it didn't happen or the media does it what it does best and 'spins' things !! Clay has received nothing but the utmost of respect and high praise for those he has worked with in the biz. This man exudes class & charm.
Mostly, I do applaud your ability to see the show with an open mind. Not too many reporters have done this!!

Anonymous said...

I was a big Clay supporter back in Season 2 of Idol, but his attitude the past several years has turned me off a bit to him ...

What attitude? Im curious. Not in a hostil way or anything .. Im just curious.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Clay is giving very fine performances in a type of entertainment new to him. I am glad to see your mostly very nice review.
However, I am most puzzled ??? at your comment "but his attitude the past several years has turned me off a bit to him." Could you possibly be letting the tabloid rags shape your opinions? That would be a real shame.

Anonymous said...

We just got home from seeing Clay in Spamalot and we were both impressed as well. He seemed to have no problem stepping onto the stage and was a pleasure to watch.

Natalie said...

Well, DUH! Clay's fans knew all along he would be a hit in Spamalot! He is hilarious in concert. As for your comment about his "attitude", it's the press that have created that. Clay doesn't have a diva attitude like many would like to claim he does. He's completely humble and a true sweetheart! Congrats, Clay, on your newest adventure!

Anonymous said...

Since I went to see Clay on tours after American Idol, I was NOT surprised to hear he is so good in this. I've seen him cut up, pull funny shtick, banter with audience, etc., between songs. His dedication to doing his best to "be" Sir Robin, Bro. Maynard etc. in "Spamalot" is the same as it was when he worked hard on AI2. He has a great time up there, and those watching his concerts or this show do, too. I hope to be able to come see it and will applaud the other fine actors in the show besides Clay!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this honest review of a truly talented performer, Clay Aiken. I saw the matinee on Saturday, and I agree with everything you said except the puzzling part about an "attitude" you didn't like. Clay is completely honest and has never changed his attitude. However, there have been malicious lies spread about him in the tabloid press. Anyone who has followed Clay knows how much charity work he does, and how kind and unassuming he is. Clay deserves praise for his brilliant talent as a singer, dancer, comedian, and actor in these ensemble roles, and for his old-fashioned virtues of honesty, kindness, humility, and selflessness. Clay is almost too good to be true, but he truly is that good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the open-minded review. That's a refreshing change from most. I won't repeat what others have said about Clay in concert and on talk shows--all too true--so no surprise to his fans that Clay is so great in Spamalot. Mike Nichols knew what he was doing.

When you mention his "attitude" this past year, I think you may be referring to comments he makes in interviews where he is obviously annoyed by the questions which are brought up repeatedly...and which he has answered in the past. Clay is extremely intelligent and responds eagerly to intelligent questions. ;)

Anonymous said...

To the writer

Great review but could you elaborate on "The Attitude". It is really too bad that most people don't know the Real Clay! Are you oblivious of all the GOOD this man has done?

Patches said...

I love reading all the articles on Spamolot. Those of us who loved him from the start knew he would ace it. Clay Aiken is talent from his cute little head to his cute little toes. There is nothing he can't do. Every thing about Clay is just pure good. You can't blame him for getting tired of the same old rant from every interviewer. Ask him an inteligent question and you will get an inteligent answer. I believe that the people who "activly diss him in piblic" have no excuse other then jelousy. We love you Clay and we stand behind you.

Anonymous said...

One can certainly tell when a STAR as MR. CLAY AIKEN, has arrived, everyone wants a piece of his hide.
I, personaly, admire Clay for refusing to peat & repeat questions that are thrown at him time after time, when there is so much more to what this young man has done, and continues to do.
I, to want to thank you for the nice comments about Clay in Spamalot.

Genie said...

Very nice review. Refreshing to see preconceived notions being set aside in the face of what's really happening.

Just curious, though. Who are you, "Idol Thoughts?" I mean, how do we know you're not Clay himself? ; )
Kidding, of course, but it would be nice to know whose review this is.

Carol said...

Clay is simply a special person and excels at anything he attempts. Any "attitude" he may have shown IMHO was just pure exasperation at the attempts of tabloid journalists trying to antagonize him. He remains the same unaffected person we met years ago on AI, extremely talented, a born performer, and now exhibiting his comedic timing and wit. He is one in a million. Great review and very similar to what I've read from people who have seen the show. I can't wait to see him in April!

Anonymous said...

Wow...you "Claymates" are a little crazy, aren't ya??

Anonymous said...

Love you review and happy that you noticed the real Clay. This is why many of the fans go to more than one concert, because he can sing and he is so darn funny. Each show he sings the same songs but the phrases and things he does is always different and he keeps us laughing and wanting more.

Anonymous said...

Not crazy, just enthusiastic! ;) And trying to shed some light on the real truth about an honest, good, funny, witty, amazingly talented man.

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed the show!!!!! I plan on seeing it again myself - he was just GREAT!

Anonymous said...

It was very refreshing to read a review which gave honest props to a very talented performer.I was at the same performance of Spamalot and agree with all you said about how well Clay is doing in his roles.

For myself, I love his attitude of helping others, being humble yet confident, and appreciating his fans.I am proud to be his fan.

Thanks again for this fair review. I urge everyone to see Spamalot. I was able to meet most of the other castmates to tell them how much I enjoyed their work. They all are very gracious and they speak highly of Clay.

Anonymous said...

I saw Spamalot on Thursday evening; and although I always knew Clay would be fantastic in a Broadway musical, I was so impressed with him. After the show he signed autographs at the stage door and I did get to tell him I thought he was 'phenomenal'-he thanked me 'very much'!!! I can't wait to see it again on March 20th-the only date I was going to see it until a free hotel room and extra ticket became available last week. Clay does have a new cd coming out in May--please plan on purchasing it, as it will have ALL original songs on it-3 rumored to have been written by David Foster and just maybe, Clay, as co-writer!!!!!! A little bird told me the songs are all 'winners'!!!

Anonymous said...

Note to commenters: I must have read a different review than you did, because I thought this blog post was glowingly positive; so much so that one small observation about "attitude" (entirely the opinion of the author, which he/she is entitled to have) was just, I don't know, minor? Small? Not worth a fuss?

At any rate, I think it's great (and not surprising) that Clay is doing well in this show. Thanks to the author for sharing his/her review of the performance.