Direct from three years in the West End, the hit musical Monty Python’s Spamalot gallops to Bath as the Quest for the Holy Grail arrives at the Theatre Royal from Monday 25th May to Saturday 30th May. Reprising his West End role as King Arthur, Joe Pasquale is joined by his actor son Joe Tracini (Hollyoaks, My Spy Family) as manservant Patsy in Eric Idle’s hugely popular comedy jaunt.
Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is a kind-of new musical with a book by Eric Idle and an entirely new score for the new production, (well, almost) created by Eric Idle and John Du Prez.
Eric Idle says of the show: ‘Spamalot is fun. The new production is funnier, it’s more like a Python show. There are new costumes and new sets and a new director (Christopher Luscombe), so it’s just got a whole different spirit to it.’
Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and features a bevy (or possibly a brace) of beautiful show girls, witch burnings (cancelled due to health and safety) not to mention cows, killer rabbits and French people. The show features fantastic tunes, more magical than a Camelot convention, including He Is Not Dead Yet, Knights of the Round Table, I’m All Alone, Find Your Grail and, of course, the Nation’s Favourite Comedy Song (Reader’s Digest Poll 2010) Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.
Audiences around the world have been roaring with laughter since Monty Python’s Spamalot won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2005. During the recent West End run, there were 21 onstage moustache incidents, three suspected cases of swine flu (French pigs!), three outbreaks of nits and 92 pairs of coconuts used.
The current tour, also directed by Christopher Luscombe, follows hot on the heels of the can’t-believe-how-successful-it-was-with-the-first-show-selling-out-in-40-seconds Monty Python Reunion at The O2 and Eric Idle’s acclaimed performance of ‘Always Look On The Bright Side of Life’ at the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony – the world sang along, and Spamalot audiences in Bath will get the opportunity to do so too!
Joe Pasquale returns to his role as Arthur, King of the Britons, after starring in the West End production in 2013 and 2014. As one of the country’s most popular funny men for over 20 years, Joe has appeared in six Royal Variety Performances, the UK Tour of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, The Wizard of Oz and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, as well as live stand-up shows including the 1996 million-selling tour Live and Squeaky, Joe Pasquale Summer 2013 Tour and playing super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes in Ha, Ha, Holmes. On screen he voiced characters for the Hollywood films Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties and Horton Hears A Who!, hosted ITV1’s The Price Is Right and An Audience with Joe Pasquale, and guest presented Channel 4’s Paul O’Grady Show. Joe won the 2004 series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and appeared ITV1’s Dancing on Ice in 2013, returning for the final All-Star series in 2014.
Joe says: ‘I loved my time as King Arthur in the West End production. I am very excited to have been asked to return for the new UK Tour. I will be joining a fantastic Spamalot cast and can’t wait to get back on my invisible horse as we search the land for The Holy Grail.’
Joining his father to star as Patsy, Joe Tracini is looking forward to becoming one of the most talented coconut bangers this country is likely to ever see. He says: ‘When I was little, I had three dreams for when I grew up… to be in a musical, to work with my Dad, and to bang two halves of a coconut together on a nightly basis. Playing Patsy in Spamalot is making all of them come true at once. I’m honoured that I’m being trusted with the part, to sing the classic song ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life,’ and to be joining such a brilliant company. Come and see us please, it’s funnier if you’re there.’
Best known for his roles as Dennis Savage in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and as DK in BBC Three’s Coming of Age, Joe Tracini was nominated for three Inside Soap Awards and a British Soap Award during his time performing in 165 episodes of Hollyoaks. He studied at London’s Italia Conti Academy of Arts before landing his first role in My Spy Family. He has also appeared in BBC Three’s Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. As well as acting, Joe Tracini is an accomplished magician, having won the title ‘British Junior Magical Champion’ in 2003 and went on to become a member of The Magic Circle.
Sarah Earnshaw reprises her West End role as the Lady of the Lake. Her West End credits also include Scrooge and Wicked. Sarah has toured the UK in Jekyll and Hyde, Scrooge and Puttin’ on the Ritz. Her television credits include Casualty, Children In Need and Blue Peter.
The role of Sir Galahad is played by Richard Meek, with Josh Wilmott as Sir Bedevere, Richard Kent as Prince Herbert and Will Hawksworth as Sir Robin. The cast is completed by Richard Astbury, Daniel Cane, Abigail Climer, Ste Clough, Matthew Dale, Holly Easterbrook, Inez Mackenzie and Jamie Tyler.
Monty Python is a fictitious character invented in 1969 by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. He is the eponymous impresario who fronts The Flying Circus, The Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life, And Now for Something Completely Different and who appeared Live at Drury Lane and the Hollywood Bowl. He has fronted numerous books including The Big Red Book and The Papperbok as well as many CDs, DVDs and matching ties and handkerchiefs. He is currently in retirement in an old jokes home near Dover, anxiously awaiting Nighthood and a Knightnurse.
Eric Idle wrote the book and lyrics for Monty Python’s Spamalot and also co-wrote the music with John Du Prez. As well as the Tony Award for Best Musical of 2005, Spamalot won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack and has appeared on Broadway, on tour in the US, in London’s West End, in Las Vegas and in Australia. An original member of the Python team, Idle was a writer-actor in the movies and television shows of Monty Python and creator-actor-director of The Rutles. As a singer-songwriter he appeared on stage at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and in two highly successful tours of the US with John Du Prez: Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python (2000) and The Greedy Bastard Tour (2003), where they journeyed 15,000 miles across North America in a Rock and Roll bus. Not The Messiah (He’s A Very Naughty Boy), a comic Oratorio based on The Life of Brian, written with John Du Prez, received its world premiere in Toronto in 2007, premiered in the US, and toured Australia and New Zealand prior to the Hollywood Bowl. Rutlemania! The Tribute Concert, a celebration of 30 years of The Rutles opened in 2008.
Composer John Du Prez entered the film industry in 1978 composing additional music for Monty Python’s Life of Brian. This began a long association with Eric Idle, leading to their current writing partnership. He has scored more than 20 feature films including The Meaning of Life, A Private Function, A Fish Called Wanda and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I, II and III. His other Python projects include the Contractual Obligation Album, Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl and The Fairly Incomplete & Rather Badly Illustrated Monty Python Song Book. He was musical director for Eric Idle’s two US stage tours, Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python and The Greedy Bastard Tour.
Director Christopher Luscombe began his career as an actor, performing with the RSC, the National Theatre and in the West End. He has directed at the Theatre Royal Bath many times. His production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys enjoyed a hugely successful UK tour, playing Bath in 2010 and 2011. His staging of Bennett’s Enjoy, which opened in Bath in 2008, transferred to the West End and returned to the Theatre Royal in 2010 as part of a UK tour. His 2012 production of The Madness of George III opened at the Theatre Royal Bath and transferred to the West End; following earlier productions of Bennett’s Single Spies and The Lady in the Van, both of which played Bath. He also directed The Merry Wives of Windsor for Shakespeare’s Globe, and Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, both of which toured to Bath in 2010. His many West End productions also include Spamalot; The Rocky Horror Show; Fascinating Aïda – One Last Flutter (Olivier Award nomination); and When We Are Married (Olivier Award nomination).
Monty Python’s Spamalot appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 25th May to Saturday 30th May. To book tickets contact the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk