Spamalot musical comes to Edinburgh Playhouse
Monty Python's King Arthur comedy
If ever a man was able to look on the bright side of life it is Eric Idle. Whether jumping out of cakes in a tutu for Prince Charles in a comical re-enactment of Swan Lake, or dressing up in wings, mocking the outfit worn by Emma Thompson in Angels in America, to entertain director Mike Nichols, the 67-year-old funny man believes that laughter is the key to a long and glittering career. Enter stage left his musical success Spamalot. Inspired by (or ‘lovingly ripped off from’) the much-loved film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which he co-wrote and starred in, Spamalot has reinvigorated the public’s love for the Pythons around the world.
‘I went to see it last week in Sweden,’ says a beaming Idle, ‘and I’ve seen it in Barcelona, Madrid, Melbourne and Vegas. The great thing about the writing is that it’s so good, so it was about going to the material and thinking “Right then, how to get to Act II with this”.’
After five years of working on Spamalot, Idle cheerfully admits he never tires of it. ‘Because it’s about King Arthur and the knights, it’s mock-heroic,’ he explains with a laugh. ‘So we have knights prancing about on non-existent horses and singing silly songs. It’s absurd and easy to enjoy and audiences have responded to that.’
The show borrows from what Idle lovingly refers to as Monty Python’s ‘rag bag of tricks’. ‘Laughter’s the most important thing. It’s a litmus test for the truth. It’s an evolutionary tool, and hopefully everyone gets to enjoy that afresh here.’
Playhouse, Edinburgh, Mon 18–Sat 23 Oct