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Cast: Matthew Kelly in Festive Spamalot, Priscilla

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Matthew Kelly will play King Arthur for a special four week festive season of Spamalot at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham this Christmas.

He'll be joined by ex-EastEnder Todd Carty as Patsy and Jodie Prenger as the Lady of the Lake for the run, which opens on 7 December 2010 (until 1 January 2011) as part of the current national tour (See News, 16 Mar 2010).

Kelly, who won an Olivier Award for his role as Lennie in Birmingham Rep's production of Of Mice and Men in 2004, said: “I'm thrilled to be in Spamalot … The people of Brum have always been fantastically kind to me over the years so it's a special treat for me to be appearing in this spectacular show at the Alex.”

The former Stars in their Eyes presenter's other recent stage credits include Waiting for Godot alongside Ian McKellen and Roger Rees, Comedians at the Lyric Hammersmith and Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare's Globe.

“Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 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 musical has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who also co-wrote the music with John Du Prez. The West End production, which ran at the Palace from 16 October 2006 (previews from 30 September) to 3 January 2009, reunited the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley.

Ray Meagher, best known on television for playing Alf Stewart in the long running Australian soap Home and Away, will join the West End cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical as mechanic Bob from 30 September 2010.

With booking now open until 28 May 2011, Meagher joins Don Gallagher (Bernadette), Ben Richards (Tick) and Oliver Thornton (Adam) in the Olivier and Whatsonstage.com award-winning musical at the Palace Theatre.

Prior to Meagher joining the cast, Priscilla will take a fortnight’s holiday (from 6 to 19 September 2010), during which time maintenance work will be carried out on the show’s elaborate set, which includes a full life-sized bus (See News, 24 Jun 2010).

Judi Dench will lend her voice to the Open Air Theatre's forthcoming revival of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, which opens on 16 August (previews from 6 August).

Dench will pre-record the role of the Giant in Timothy Sheader's production, which also stars Hannah Waddingham (The Witch), Helen Dallimore (Cinderella), Michael Xavier (Wolf & Cinderella's Prince), Mark Hadfield (Baker), Jenna Russell (Baker's Wife) and Alice Fearn (Rapunzel).


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