Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Whatever Happened to My Part?

I've been rushing about all over the place for work. In amongst it all I have heard some interesting things.

"My daughter has a poster on her wall," said a friend and colleague. "It says I've lost my virginity. But I still have the packaging it came in."

This amused me greatly. And then, in the coffee break, some of us were discussing our rather tenuous claims to fame. I boasted about being distantly related to both Danny Kaye and the first ever heart transplant patient. "My Dad watched the Queen's Coronation with Wilfred Pickles' mum," said one of my colleagues, gloriously.

Wilfred Pickles, comedian, was the originator of the catchphrase "Give me the money, Barney" which my mother says just about every day - - I always wondered where it came from.

Anyway. Part of the rushing about, entirely for pleasure, was a trip to the Sunderland Empire last night to see Spamalot.

I'd never been to Sunderland before. My friend Alex had press tickets as she's a radio presenter, and she kindly invited me to go with her.

Alex lives near Stockton-on-Tees, sixty miles or so straight Up North up the A1, so I drove to Alex's house and then she took us the extra thirty miles or so up to Sunderland.

The journey took me through the little town of Yarm which was very picturesque and full of interesting-looking shops. I'd like to spend some time just wandering round there.

On we went to Sunderland and the Empire Theatre is a big, old-fashioned and lovely theatre. Spamalot is a rip-off by Eric Idle and John Du Prez of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, made into a musical. It's extremely entertaining, very funny, and the standard of singing and dancing was extremely high.

It was supposed to star the comedian Phill Jupitus as King Arthur but we were convinced that the actor we saw was not him. Usually if there's an understudy replacing the star then the audience would be told by an announcement at the beginning - but we weren't told anything. Alex found out today that Phill Jupitus was ill and they'd swapped the cast round a bit - - and it didn't matter at all, they were great: but I think we should have been told.

For a show like this a high-quality ensemble cast is, to me, more important than any star name - and so it proved last night.

There are some great songs and I particularly liked this one, The Diva's Lament, which is sung by Guinevere when she's been offstage for a while, and suddenly notices this. I know many actors, of course, and I think its sentiments will ring true for many of them.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Fame? Co-incidentally, I was an extra in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Much of it was filmed near Stirling University when I was a student there. I was a member of the French army that came over the hill and you also see my hands sharpening a spear - that shot last for 0.2 seconds. I met John Cleese by the mobile canteen but he forgot to ask for my autograph.

2:48 am  

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