John is Sheffield's second link to Monty Python show Spamalot
Lovingly ripped off from the hugely successful 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this Spammier than ever production is full of misfit knights, killer rabbits, dancing nuns and ferocious Frenchmen.
Join King Arthur as he travels with his hapless Knights of the Round Table on a divine mission to locate the illusive Holy Grail – with uproarious consequences.
Spamalot composer John Du Prez, who was born in Sheffield, has written a lot of the music for Python shows.
Speaking last year, John said: “My dad was in the Ministry of Defence and moved up to Sheffield during the war. My parents then moved down to Bath after the war, which is where I grew up.”
His brother Peter lives in Sheffield.
Of course, Sheffield can boast a Python team member. John said: “Michael Palin’s very proud to be from Sheffield. He only discovered I came from there a couple of years ago, when we were working on The Clangers in Altrincham, where the studios are.”
John said he has been working with Python Eric Idle since 1978. “I started work with Monty Python on Life of Brian, working on the title music, and then their Contractual Obligation album. I was musical director. I really got to know him on that.
“Then I did the score for the Meaning of Life, including the Galaxy Song, and I’ve gone on from there. I also worked with John Cleese on A Fish Called Wanda and lots of other Python projects.”
John was also the musical director for the hugely successful Monty Python farewell stage tour.
He recalled how Spamalot came about. “Eric was asked to do a concert at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles because they wanted to bring a wider public in.
“We did a concert of Python music, which was the first time it was ever performed live in public. Then they decided to do a tour in 2000 with all the sketches.”
John said that Eric then wrote the script for Spamalot because he wanted to keep everything going after the tour, so they went about turning a lot of the scenes from the film into songs.
John’s favourite song from Spamalot is I’m All Alone, sung by King Arthur, his servant Patsy and the knights. The joke is that Patsy’s always there, unnoticed.
Spamalot is at Cast, Doncaster from May 8 to 12. Box office: castindoncaster.com
Meanwhile, Southey Musical Theatre Company has the Sheffield amateur premiere of the show.
The cast were thrilled to get a message from Michael Palin.
It read: Hail to the Southey Musical Theatre Company - give it hell! Yours on behalf of Arthur and all his Kniggets,Michael Palin (pp Galahad)
Director Chris Badham said: “Spamalot is not only for the diehard Python fans. Anyone who enjoys comedy and great music will just love this show!
“It pokes fun at practically everyone and everything, including Broadway musicals, and we’re having a lot of fun rehearsing some hilarious scenes and comic songs that Pythonites will recognise such as Knights of The Round Table, Brave Sir Robin and, of course, the nation’s favourite Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life!
“If you want to be entertained then this is definitely the show for you!’
Spamalot runs at The Montgomery, Surrey Street, from May 16 to 19.
Tickets are £15 and can be purchased by calling 0114 265 8688, emailing [email protected] or visiting TheMontgomery.org.uk