As previously tipped (See The Goss, 3 Jan 2006), producers for Monty Python’s Spamalot have confirmed the Tony Award-winning musical’s London premiere. It will start performances at the West End’s Palace Theatre on 2 October 2006 (press night tbc), with tickets – at prices still to be set - going on sale on 21 February.

Based on the 1975 cult film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic – and features a chorus line of dancing divas (with serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight.

The stage musical has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who has also co-written the music with John Du Prez. The London production will reunite the Broadway creative team including set and costume designer Tim Hatley, lighting designer Hugh Vanstone, choreographer Casey Nicholaw and Mike Nichols, who won his eighth Tony Award for his direction of Spamalot.

Spamalot - which opened at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre in March 2005 – also won last year’s Tony for Best Musical (See News, 6 Jun 2005), as well as Best Musical prizes at New York’s Drama Desk and Out Critics’ Circle Awards. At the Shubert, the show continues to attract sell-out audiences, who have not been put off by the cost of $110 for best seats, a record-breaking ticket price hike which has since been copied by other shows.

The New York production currently stars multi award-winning UK stage veteran Simon Russell Beale (See News, 20 Sep 2005). No doubt, many British theatregoers will hope to see him reprise role in the London production, however no casting has yet been announced. In the US, a touring production will also shortly be launched, ahead of a separate production planned for Las Vegas in 2007.

Spamalot is produced by Boyett Ostar Productions, the same company behind the Broadway presentation of The Woman in White. Ironically, the Palace’s current resident is the original West End production of that Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which will now finish its run next month (25 February 2006) ahead of a planned UK tour (See Today’s Other News).

- by Terri Paddock