Queenstown’s Knights of the Round Table

3 minutes read
Posted 14 May, 2024
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Showbiz Queenstown is bringing Monty Python’s Spamalot from Broadway to the Memorial Centre stage this week. The show is known as a “musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Opening night for the company’s annual production is this Thursday with nine shows running until Saturday 25 May.

The show is a satirical retelling of King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail. Emma Pullar will be performing in the show this year as the Lady of the Lake – the lead female role. She also dons a second hat as the president of the committee at Showbiz Queenstown and been involved with the company for many years.

“The show is absolutely hilarious – I was over in New York in January of this year with my daughter, who ended up on this kind of musical theatre tour. They’d just actually opened Spamalot again on Broadway, so I went to the show – actually, twice,” Pullar says. “It’s very stupid, but Monty Python fans will know what they’re in for – anyone not familiar with Monty Python, it’s absolutely hilarious and just full of good laughs and great music.”

There’s an ensemble of well-known characters including King Arthur, played by Justin Abbiss, his sidekick Patsy (Caleb Dawson-Swale) and the knights of the round table. On their journey, they encounter a bevy of beautiful show girls, cows, killer rabbits and French people. The cast is made up of approximately 28 and Dave Goosselink is this year’s director – he has come up from Dunedin after directing the show there in 2016.

“The cast are all from Queenstown which is fabulous. The cast are amazing and everybody is unbelievable in their roles – it’s so well cast. When people see everyone in all the different roles, they say ‘oh my gosh, they’re so good at that.’ The creative team have done an absolutely fabulous job of casting a full and amazing cast of amazing singers and dancers.”

Pullar explains that the process of choosing a show to perform each year is a tricky one with many factors to consider including what rights are available. They choose about a year out and advertise around May each year, allowing people to register their interest and find out about how to audition for roles. The show is not without some hurdles including restricted venue and rehearsal spaces, but they make it work.

“We have an absolutely thriving creative community here and very talented people, so the calibre of the shows that we can put on and produce is next level. It’s amazing what we can pull out of nothing - but it’s not easy.”

As for Spamalot, Pullar hopes that the public love the show as much as she and the cast and crew do. While it can be hard to gauge what the public’s reaction will be, she’s confident that Monty Python fan or not, the audience is sure to have a laugh.

“It’s not a traditional musical, it’s not like going to Les Misérables, it’s going to be a very funny show, very entertaining and I don’t know who wouldn’t enjoy coming to it. It’s hilarious and we are all absolutely cracking up at our rehearsals at the moment – we’re having a great time.”

Once the show is over, next year’s production will begin. The company will celebrate their 50th year in 2025. Their mission is to assist and encourage the people of Queenstown and the Southern Lakes to extend their artistic abilities and they’re always looking for more people to get involved, whether cast, crew or volunteer.

Monty Python’s Spamalot will run from 16 – 25 May at Queenstown Memorial Centre with one matinee show on Sunday 19.
For tickets head to showbizqueenstown.com


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