With coconuts, round tables, killer rabbits, flatulent Frenchmen and shenanigans a-plenty arriving in the West End, it can only mark the arrival of the deliciously silly Monty Python’s Spamalot, a musical with more jokes than warbles and an extra dose of comedy rather than jazz hands.
We spoke to the show’s somewhat unlikely trio of leading men – EastEnders’ Todd Carty who stars as professional horse impersonator Patsy, and comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Jon Culshaw who will take it in turns to don King Arthur’s crown – and discovered they may just be as silly in real life as their barmy stage counterpoints.
Describe your character in six words.
Brigstocke: King of a silly, funny place.
Carty: Halfwit, optimistic, coconut bashing clown.
Culshaw: Noble, brave, stately, formidable, tenacious. Oh you mean MY character, [a] barmpot.
If you were King of the Britains, which new law would pass first?
Brigstocke: Bankers would be paid based on public demonstrations of humility and service to the country. That and anyone keeping their money off-shore has to live wherever they keep their money… permanently. My guess is the Channel Islands would capsize.
Carty: Whatever it is, I would be against it!
Culshaw: Owning blinged up Range Rovers with number plates spelling the owner’s names shall become an act of treason because many who have them are insufferable, brash, strutting little artichokes aren’t they?
Which six people (dead or alive) would you have at your Round Table?
Brigstocke: Sir Dennis Galahad (fortnightly leader of an anarcho-syndicalist commune), Sir Robin (the not quite brave, pooed his pants and ran away), Sir Lancelot (hard, aggressive and recently outed homosexual, wonderful dancer and psychopath), Sir Bedevere (creator of the legendary ‘Wooden Rabbit’ and fearsome intellectual – like Steven Fry but with straighter nose and a powerful singing voice), Patsy (my coconut wielding horse/man who looks suspiciously like Tucker Jenkins) and the Lady of the Lake (my honey – baby got back! Yes Lord – there’s funk in that trunk…).
Carty: Groucho, Harpo and Chico Marx. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Norman Wisdom.
Culshaw: Albert Einstein, Ozzy Osbourne, Sir Patrick Moore, Charlize Theron, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy would be very entertaining and it would probably end in a custard pie fight.
Spamalot is famous for its insults. What’s the worst insult you’ve ever received?
Brigstocke: Being invited to make a television program with Anne Robinson.
Carty: “He looks like an idiot, he sounds like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you, he really is an idiot.”
Culshaw: “You great useless dozy great pudding” from my Aunty Stella. Can’t recall what it was I’d done to earn that!
What is the Holy Grail in your life?
Brigstocke: Snowboarding with my kids, because I love my kids and I love snowboarding and joining them up makes for double love. I also love comedy, cheese and playing dress-up. These are my many Grails.
Carty: My two fantastic sons, James and Thomas.
Culshaw: The ability to be generally content and to properly appreciate things. You can’t be happier than happy. Keep things simple.
How will you be spending your free time during the run of the production?
Brigstocke: I don’t have any. I’m doing my own stand-up show The Brig Society at the same time. Very good jokes, very poor time management.
Carty: I will be looking for a bodyguard, even though I haven’t got the body worth guarding.
Culshaw: If not in hibernation or at the pub or the gym, then probably testing out my new astronomical telescope.
Tell us your favourite (family friendly!) joke…
Brigstocke: Did you hear about the inflatable boy at the inflatable school who was sent to see the inflatable headmaster for bringing in a pin?
He said: “You’ve let me down, you’ve let yourself down but worst of all you’ve let the school down.”
Carty: You are just wasting your breath asking me that question, and that is no great loss.
Culshaw: Man crashed his car into a curry house. He’s still in a korma but his nan’s all right.