Galavant: Two Balls/ Comedy Gold Review

We make our case for the best musical number in our review of tonight's Galavant...

Galavant is picking up steam, and its next celebrity cameo (courtesy of Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville) was equal parts Python and Gilbert and Sullivan. For a theatre slash comedy nerd like myself, frankly, it doesn’t get any better than that.

When Galavant gets it right, it sings! Get it? That’s a joke because of how it is a musical. Moving on. Unfortunately, when it gets it wrong, it doesn’t settle for not landing, it lands, bursts a hole in the floor and probably causes a significant amount of damage if not a handful of deaths. Right now, that’s the crux of the show’s problem — its tonal dissonance is jarring, and not in a fun avant garde kind of way, in a “what is even HAPPENING right now” kind of way, and no amount of Timothy Omundson merrily devouring the scenery can cure what ails it. 

That’s a lot of hate to pile onto one of the few shows on television in recent history to make me laugh, as the kids say, aloud in my apartment. There is no denying that Galavant is intensely charming. It’s bright, and colorful, and the central trio of Galavant, his squire Sidney, and Princess Isabella (as played by Joshua Sasse, Karen David, and Luke Youngblood), has sparkling chemistry. It’s an insane amount of fun to watch them romp around together. The second half-hour’s song “Togetherness” sung by this trio was the strongest number of the episode by far being both insanely catchy, insanely funny, and nudging the plot along in the subtle way (as subtly as possible and when you are singing nothing is that subtle) of the best musicals.

I was on Twitter while watching tonight and got into it a little with a fan who believed the number “Knight in a Tin Can” was the strongest number. Here is why I can’t agree — it’s not a good song. I defy you to sing it now: You can’t do it. It didn’t stick with you. It also features a heavy-handed moment of Galavant (disguised as his own squire in order to persuade Sid’s family and friends that HE is the real knight) realizing just how terrible he’s been in the past. The song was meant to act as the catalyst for change that sends Gal to make nice with Sid but here’s the thing…we’ve never really seen Gal mistreat said, or even, outside of his drunken depression after losing Madalena, really be that incorrigible until this week. It all seemed like a quick and easy fix for a problem that wasn’t really a problem.

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I would have been more interested in watching Isabella grapple with her feelings of guilt over turning Gal in, but that was relegated to the last three minutes. This seems to be have been a missed opportunity. I would have gladly bypassed the vaguely offensive Oy-laden “Sid Is Jewish You Guys!” scene in favor of more time with Hugh Bonneville’s landlocked pirate king, and further development of the relationship between Gal and Sid that we are supposed to believe is a real thing. Still, for the sheer filth that was Gareth’s knock-knock joke and King Richard’s senseless murder of a cart of vegetables, I am honor-bound to give bonus points. 


3 out of 5