Sanjeev Bhaskar’s nerves were rattled last night, not because of the press gathered for his official first night in Monty Python’s Spamalot, but because of the presence of former Python Terry Jones.
“We’re speaking out some of the lines that he wrote in one of the most classic British comedy films of all time,” the newly crowned King of Camelot told Official London Theatre following his first night. “I paced around with that before I went on.”
The writer and star of hit comedy series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars At No. 42, was watched by a first night audience that also included wife Meera Syal, Tamsin Greig, Richard E Grant and Clive Anderson.
The cast change, which also included a number of members of the Spamalot ensemble, has seen Bhaskar stamp a little of his own identity on Eric Idle’s show with a little improvisation at opportune moments. “It’s about me bringing something of me to it,” Bhaskar explained, “otherwise it could be anybody saying those lines really. There was no discussion [about it] whatsoever. I saw the vague opportunity, stuck my foot in there and prised the door open.”
Bhaskar can now count Swedish reality television winner and current Lady of the Lake Nina Soderquist among his many admirers. The Swedish army Lieutenant turned West End star, who has already been the leading lady to the King Arthurs of both Peter Davison and Alan Dale, said of Spamalot’s new star: “He’s my third king, but I do love him.”