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14 January, 2022

Look on the bright side of life with the new Monty Python musical comedy

AFTER a two-year hiatus, the Cairns Choral Society’s annual musical tradition is back with the larger-than-life, hilarious, and uplifting production of Monty Python’s multi-award-winning SPAMALOT.

By Isabella Guzman Gonzalez

SPAMALOT’s King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table interpreted by bottom centre, Shawn Brack. middle l-r, Dale Schultz, John Margetts, Kieran Walsh, Matthew Wright, top centre Michael Newman

SPAMALOT, the adaptation of the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, premieres at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) on Friday, January 14 in a reduced season with six shows on January 14,15, 19 and 21 and one matinee on January 16.

For the past 12 months, the cast and crew of Cairns Choral Society have thoroughly prepared to ensure Cairns audiences are rewarded for the wait and leave CPAC feeling entertained and light-hearted. 

Co-director Venera Walsh said it was time to bring some joy to the stage. 

“We had a list of other shows, but we chose SPAMALOT because the world needs escapism from all of the depressing elements that COVID has brought; with SPAMALOT, we can forget all of the dramas of the world with something funny and silly. People need a laugh right now,” Ms Walsh said. 

“It is a big risk with the uncertainty regarding restrictions and a major commitment financially with extravagant sets, costumes and huge ensemble numbers which require hours of rehearsal – but we feel it will be so worth it. 

“SPAMALOT has something for everyone – a little escape with raucous comedy, great dance routines choreographed by Sarah Thorne, catchy showtunes, amazing sets by Chris and Gary George and a fabulous orchestra under the musical direction of Margaret Willis. In our opinion, live performance truly is a rare gift. 

“We have a very talented cast to portray these quirky, over-the- top characters, the fantastic dancers and musicians; they are all so keen, and they love the show; they have made this journey so joyous. 

“The production team (previously worked on Phantom of the Opera and Wicked) is excited to choose something familiar to the Baby Boomers and Generation X but fresh and new to Cairns audiences”, she said. 

Co-director Kate Ryan said this production is what Cairns needs in trying times. 

“We had some ideas on the table, but this show kept coming back because it’s funny, silly and heart-warming. It will make audiences feel great; even if you don’t know what Monty Python is, you will enjoy yourself,” Ms Ryan said. 

“It’s been a very challenging and exciting rehearsal period, and everyone is bursting to get on stage with SPAMALOT after this two-year hiatus because of COVID. We’re just keen to be back in the theatre.”

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