Get to know our talented cast and production team.
Monty Python's SPAMALOT, performed by Free Rain Theatre Company is on at The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre from Tues 12 September til Sunday 24 September 2023.
From the Producer
What a joy it is to bring Spamalot to the stage at The Q. We all need to have a rollicking good time and be highly entertained by such a clever script with great music, nonsensical plot line and characters created for the 2005 musical adapted by Eric Idle and John Du Prez from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The Creative team is led with panache by Jarrad West. He is supported by those of equal flair, Ian McLean and Michelle Heine who create the music and magic on stage. Speaking of people who create magic, I would like to acknowledge Fiona and the costume team; Brigid on vocals: Hannah, the AC & Dance Captain: Lou and Liv on Marketing and Publicity; Jacob and Kyle on lights and sound, and Jill, the Queen of everything that needs attention. Our Tech team is led by the one and only Cam. We are blessed to have such a great crew who keep everything ship shape and running smoothly.
The Cast have loved stretching their comedic talents with the mix of highbrow, lowbrow humour which personifies Monty Python. Everyone gets their comic moment. It lampoons the Broadway musical conventions.
There are still so many variables that are affecting the return of theatre. We are a live theatre performance company and at the very heart of who we are is our audience. We are delighted to be back doing what we love and that is to entertain you.
'Ah, I love to be alone in the country'
'John, I'm with you.'
'Ah, I love to be alone in the country...'
These 3 lines at the start of a radio sketch 'John and Mary' for the BBC radio program 'I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again' were my first introduction to the form of 'British Comedy' we most associate with Monty Python. ISIRTA (as it was abbreviated to) was born out of the Cambridge Circus, presented by the Cambridge University Footlights Revue - which featured John Cleese, Graeme Garden, Tim Brook-Taylor, Bill Oddie (who you would know as yet another comedy group from Britain, The Goodies) with writing provided by Eric Idle and Graham Chapman - who were founding members of Monty Python.
The absurd, the wacky, the ridiculous - these programs would set the tone of British absurdist comedy for many years, creating the signature style of silliness and over the top ridiculousness that still continues to this day though to Blackadder, Yes, Minister and Absolutely Fabulous.
So why Spamalot today? It was first presented in 2003 and created a sensation on Broadway when it opened, and like so many other musicals of that period, such as The Producers and Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) - it was part of the renaissance of Broadway that went on at the turn of the century, when audiences were staying away from the more serious intellectual fare that had been on offer, instead opting for shows that referenced the 'golden eras' of Broadway, with 'old fashioned' show tunes emulating the lighter crowd pleasing fare that had come before. Sondheim this is not. But that's okay! Sometimes in life - we all just need a rousing kickline, or a tap number that appears out of nowhere to make us feel good.
I am very grateful to Anne for entrusting me once again with the reins to put on another Free Rain musical, and to Michelle and Ian, thank you for running with such a ridiculous concept and letting me put the orchestra (and audience!) onstage. Making the audience part of the furniture so to speak gives the cast the freedom to play, to interact, and create a situation where anything can and does happen - which was the hallmark of this style of comedy. But don't worry - the audience in the auditorium still get all the attention as you'll see throughout the show!
And to the cast and crew (particularly SM extraordinaire Cam and my second brain(s) Jill, the assistant director and Hannah the assistant choreographer) thank you for keeping the train running, and Fiona & Tanya, thank you for putting up with me as always and making said train look as pretty as possible when the brief you got was 'peasants and knights and possibly a cow onesie'
And to you - the person who's scanned the QR code and is reading this now, either in the theatre before the show or after when you want to find who is to blame. If it's before - apologies in advance for the silliness. If it's after - you can email me with complaints at email@example.com
From the Choreographer
I will be honest and say I had never seen Spamalot and didn’t really know much about it. Then I played the Soundtrack!!! Wow! What great numbers?? And I became so excited to work with each of the various and different styles. So much variety between Peasants, Showgirls, Tappers, Broadway, Jewish Bottle Dancing, Laker Girls, Knights in Wooley tights, Lancelot with it’s Rio feel – I was in choreographers heaven.
What I also loved was that due to the nature of the silly comedy it is – I could do all the things I’ve ever wanted to do in musicals but was never able to. I had so much fun creating weird and wonderful movements with our cast who readily accepted the many challenges I threw out to them. Boy did we have fun???
I loved creating for this fun Musical and I hope you “laugh out loud” along with us all with Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table in Spamalot.
Creative & Production Team
Conductor – Ian McLean AM, CSC
Violin – Rowan Harvey-Martin / Eliana Piddington
Keyboard 1 – Brigid Cummins
Keyboard 2 – Ryan Arscott
Keyboard 3 – Lauren Duffy
Flute / Piccolo / Alto Saxophone – Lara Turner / Carl Vitolovich
Clarinet / Bass Clarinet / Tenor Saxophone – Lenore Studdert
1st Trumpet – Zach Raffan
2nd Trumpet / French Horn – Jesse Hill
Trombone – Felicity Boxall / Bronwen Mackenzie
Guitar – Chris Neal / James McPherson
Bass – Andrew Heron
Drums – Steve Barrett
Percussion – Jenna Hinton / Tim Cole
Director – Jarrad West
Musical Director – Ian McLean
Choreographer – Michelle Heine
Set Design – Jarrad West
Lighting Design – Jacob Aquilina
Costume Design – Fiona Leach
Sound Design – Kyle Maley
Producer – Anne Somes
Technical Director – Cameron Walter
Assistant to the Director – Jill Young
Assistant Musical Director – Brigid Cummins
Assistant Choreographer – Hannah Lance
Production Stage Manager – Cameron Walter
Head of Lighting – Zac Harvey
Head of Sound – Kyle Maley
Head of Properties – Jill Young
Head Radio Technician – Nathan Patrech
DANCE CAPTAIN – Hannah Lance
PRODUCTION PROPERTIES – Anne Somes, Jill Young, Jarrad West, Sam Crafter
PRE PRODUCTION AND PRODUCTION BUILD
Set Construction & Realisation – Squig's Welding, Bryn Millar, Nick Valois
Costume Construction and Realisation – Fiona leach, Tanya Taylor, Jenny Norberry, Sam Inall, Sandy Cassidy, Mercedes Ellis, Nicole Taylor
Stage Manager – Cameron Walter
Stage Technicians – Nicole DeLorenzo, Graeme Fennamore, Eve Perry, Lucy Van Dooren, Jill Young
Followspot Operators – Bryn Millar, Nathan Patrech, Chris Ward
Radio Technicians – Nathan Patrech, Evey Perry, Lucy Van Dooren
Lighting Operator – Zac Harvey
Audio Operator – Kyle Maley
MARKETING & PUBLICITY
Director of Marketing, Graphic Design & Social Media – Louiza Blomfield
Publicity and Media – Louiza Blomfield, Olivia Wenholz
Marketing Manager – Olivia Wenholz
Promotion Photography – Louiza Blomfield
Production Photography – Janelle McMenamin
TV COMMERCIAL VIDEOGRAPHY and PRODUCTION
Pixelwise – Nick Johnson
Creative Director – Louiza Blomfield
Sportscare and Physiotherapy Weston, Principal – Kylie Kook
Book and lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle
A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
From the original screenplay by
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
BY ARRANGEMENT WITH ORiGiN™ THEATRICAL
ON BEHALF OF THEATRICAL RIGHTS WORLDWIDE, NEW YORK
Original Broadway Production Produced by Boyett Ostar Productions, The Shubert Organization, Arielle Tepper Madover, Stephanie McClelland/Lawrence Horowitz, Elan V McAllister/Allan S. Gordon, Independent Presenters Network, Roy Furman, GRS Associates, Jam Theatricals, TGA Entertainment, & Clear Channel Entertainment.
ERIC IDLE (Book, lyrics, and music) has multi-hyphenated his way through life, from being a writer and actor in the legendary "Monty Python" TV series and movies, to the creator and director of "The Rutles.” He has appeared on stage singing rude songs with John Du Prez at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl as well as performing in two highly successful tours, Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python (2000) and The Greedy Bastard Tour (2003), for which they journeyed 15,000 miles across North America in a bus. His Greedy Bastard Diary of that tour is available from Harper Collins. Their latest work, a comic oratorio called Not the Messiah, will be performed shortly in Toronto. His play Pass The Butler ran for five months in London’s West End; he has written two novels, Hello Sailor and The Road to Mars, a children’s book, The Quite Remarkable Adventures of the Owl and The Pussycat, and a bedside companion, The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book. Spamalot has already won him a Tony, a Grammy and the respect of his wife and children.
JOHN DU PREZ (Music) a Trevelyan Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, and Associate of the Royal College of Music, he entered the film industry in 1978 composing additional music for Monty Python’s Life of Brian. This began a long association with Eric Idle, leading eventually to their current writing partnership. He has scored more than 20 feature films including The Meaning of Life, A Private Function, A Fish Called Wanda, Once Bitten, UHF and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I, II, and III. Other Python projects include the Contractual Obligation Album, Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl and The Fairly Incomplete & Rather Badly Illustrated Monty Python Song Book. He was musical director for Eric Idle’s two North American stage tours, Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python (2000) and The Greedy Bastard Tour (2003). This is his Broadway debut.
MONTY PYTHON. Is he God or Godot, an agent of the devil or an agent of the William Morris Agency, or is he, as some have argued, a fictitious character invented in 1969 by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin in a desperate attempt to find a title for their rather silly TV show? Whatever the truth, he is the eponymous impresario who fronts “The Flying Circus,” The Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, The Meaning of Life, And Now for Something Completely Different and who appeared Live at Drury Lane, City Center and the Hollywood Bowl. He has fronted numerous books including The Big Red Book and the Papperbok as well as many CDs, DVDs and matching ties and handkerchiefs. He is currently in retirement in an old jokes home near Dover, anxiously awaiting Nighthood and a Knightnurse. This is his first Broadway show. Further details: www.PythOnline.com
All songs published by Rutsongs Music & Ocean Music Ltd., © 2004. All rights Reserved, except songs from Monty Python & the Holy Grail, published by EMI/Python (Monty) Pictures as follows: “Finland,” music and lyrics by Michael Palin; “Knights of the Round Table,” music by Neil Innes, lyrics by Graham Chapman and John Cleese, “Brave Sir Robin,” music by Neil Innes, lyrics by Eric Idle; and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” music and lyrics by Eric Idle from Life of Brian, published by Python (Monty) Pictures.
SPAM® is a registered trademark of Hormel Foods LLC.
Free-Rain Theatre Company would like to sincerely thank its patrons; sponsors; collaborators and
the myriad of contributors for journeying with the company.
The Q Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre; Legs Dance Studio; Eclipse Lighting and Sound;
Pixelwise; Sportscare Canberra; Instant Colour Press and Kwik Kopy Phillip.
The Queanbeyan-Palerang Council; Jacqui Richards; Sara Wightman; Jordan Best and the
Administration Staff – The Q; Michelle Heine & Legs Dance Studio; Hannah Lance; Kwik Kopy
Phillip; Richard Block – Instant Colour Press, Belconnen; Dr Cate Clelland; Nicole Taylor; Steph
Roberts; Joel Horwood; Lachlan Houen; Jo Zacharias; Nikki Fitzgerald; Sonna Schramm; Chris Neal
& Staff - Eclipse Lighting and Sound; Jill & Julian Young; Kylie Kook – Sportscare Canberra; Nick
Johnson – Pixelwise Creative Media
Gary Humphries; Helen Bridges; Tracey Rice; Fiona Leach; Coralie Wood OAM; Barbara Sekuless;
Aaron Weissmann; Louiza Blomfield; Cameron Walter
Ian McLean; Nicholas Griffin; Lucy Jones; Jennie Norberry; Tanya Taylor.
Free-Rain Theatre Company is a member of The Ovations.