Monty Python’s Spamalot, the Playhouse Theatre's hit comedy musical about King Arthur's medieval quest for the Holy Grail, is gearing up for a special summer of celebrity Godliness that promises to be a near-religious experience for the wacky show’s legions of fervent fans.
From 15 July 'The Summer of Spamalot Charity Gods' will feature a rotating cast of celebrity thesps taking on the role of the Divine Creator for week-long stints. The show’s usual God, Eric Idle, will be moving - in a mysterious way, no doubt - to make room for Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, followed by Barbara Windsor from 5 August, then Simon Callow, Larry Lamb, Bradley Walsh and Christopher Biggins.
What’s the reason for all this deity gaiety? In fact, it’s a charity fundraising initiative that will variously benefit Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre, The Make A Wish Foundation, the Great Ormond Street Hospital, Scene & Heard, Stage For Age and Keats Community Library, all of which are supported by the actors who’ll be stepping into His - or indeed Her - shoes over the summer months.
Hugh Bonneville said of his impending omnipotence 'I wanted to play God in Spamalot in order to support Scene & Heard, a North London charity, which gives local young people living in challenging circumstances the opportunity to work with arts professionals and create theatre scripted entirely by the children. I'm grateful to the producers of Spamalot for this novel way of bringing attention to Scene & Heard's inspirational work. I'm also delighted to be involved with the show because an ancestor on my mother's side was in fact one of the Knights who say Ni.'
Electing to issue a pronouncement of her own on A4 paper instead of inscribing it onto stone tablets with lightning bolts, Barbara Windsor said 'I wanted to play God in Spamalot because having been 4ft 10 ½" tall all my life, this would be the first and only time people would look up to me.'
In a booming proclamation issued from the highest peak, Simon Callow revealed that 'I wanted to play God because it's such a challenging role for a mere mortal. Spamalot is a work of genius and God is the climax. So it was irresistible. The charity to whom I've donated my fee is the Keats Grove Library, scandalously closed by the Local Authority and re-opened by a group of local people headed by my friend, the wonderful actor Lee Montague. I used to live round the corner as a young actor and used the library all the time. Don't know what I would have done without it.'