The five finalists in Swedish television’s reality show West End Star to cast the leading role of The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot met the press today at the Palace Theatre, where they are beginning rehearsals for one of them to make their West End debut next month (See The Goss, 17 Dec 2007).

Peter Davison, currently playing King Arthur in the Monty Python musical, introduced the Scandinavian hopefuls as well as Broadway star Marin Mazzie, who, from next Monday 14 January, will swap places with original London Lady of the Lake Hannah Waddingham for four weeks prior to the reality TV winner taking over.

The West End Star shortlisted five are: Sandra Caménisch (35), a full-time mother of three; Linda Holmgren (27), a cruise ship entertainer; Viktoria Krantz (31), a show jumper; Divina Sarkany (34), an actor; and Nina Söderquist (35), a singing waitress. The finalists must return each week to Stockholm to face the judges and the viewing public in Saturday night live TV specials. The series finale will be broadcast on 2 February 2008, with the winner stepping into the role at the Palace full time from Monday 11 February 2008.


For Photos, our photographer Dan Wooller was on hand at the Palace Theatre for today’s press event. Spamalot opened in London 16 October 2006 (previews from 30 September) and is currently booking through to 27 September 2008. “Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it 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.

In addition to Davison, the current London cast also features Robert Hands (as Sir Robin), Steven Kynman (Herbert), Graham MacDuff (Sir Dennis Galahad), Andrew Spillett (Patsy) and Tony Timberlake (Sir Bedevere). Spamalot has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who has also co-written the music with John Du Prez. The London production reunites the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley. The three-time Tony Award-winning Spamalot opened in March 2005 at Broadway’s Shubert Theater, where it’s still running.

Theatregoers can keep track of West End Story updates via the official Python website, where episodes are available online in English.

- by Terri Paddock