Talking Theatre: Wynne Evans Discusses Monty Python's Spamalot at Wales Millennium Centre
Welsh opera singer and BBC Radio Wales broadcaster, Wynne Evans takes to the stage of Wales Millennium Centre this evening as Sir Galahad in the Monty Python comedy musical, Spamalot which runs until March 24.
Wynne, known to millions as the face and voice of the GoCompare.com, has made many stage appearances, ranging from singing over a hundred roles in major international opera houses, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to the Royal Albert Hall, where he a starred as Piangi in the 25th Anniversary Performance of The Phantom of the Opera.
He became a firm favourite at the Milllennium Stadium in Cardiff where he most famously responded on behalf of the Welsh Rugby Team to the New Zealand Haka and went on to sing at over twenty international games.
No stranger to Wales Millennium Centre Wynne is making a welcome return in the role of Sir Galahad in Spamalot. We recently caught up with him as he discussed the role.
What can audiences expect from the new production of Spamalot?
I’ve seen the show and it is hilarious. It does exactly what it says on the tin but is spammier than ever before! Fans of Monty Python can expect everything they know and love, with all the favourite quips and quotes along with all the singing and dancing you’d expect from a Tony award-winning musical. Its 2 hours of laugh a minute fun and can get surreal – think dancing nuns, farting Frenchmen and killer rabbits!
The brilliance of Spamalot derives from the original film and Eric Idle’s very surreal sense of humour and this production remains true to that.
From the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail to the first stage production of Spamalot in 2004, audiences have been left in stitches by this parody of the Arthurian legend. What is it that still appeals so much to audiences?
We all love a bit of silly! And this is a lot of silly. You can leave your troubles at the door and just have a great night out. That original Python humour is something that never grows old. In fact I have heard from some of the cast that they still sometime struggle with the giggles when they are delivering their lines. There is something so timeless about them which just tickles your funny bone. I think that diehard fans of Python love seeing this brought to life live on stage and, for those who have never heard them before, it introduces them to a whole new world of slapstick and mayhem.
Your character Sir Dennis Galahad, The Dashingly Handsome, is a political radical and bit of a ‘ladies’ man’- what appealed to you about playing the role and what do you like about his character?
Dashingly handsome – you said it all – who else could they possible have cast me as? Obviously complete type casting! Galahad is one of several King Arthur’s Knights of the very very round table searching for the holy grail and is a great character to play, he’s pompous and arrogant – but actually a bit of an ass so you can have a lot of fun with him! I also get to sing a fantastic duet, ‘The song that goes like this’ with the wonderful Sarah Harlington who plays the Lady of the Lake.
What do you think makes a successful musical?
All the ingredients you’d expect. A great story, some big and bold dance numbers and of course a great score. And Spamalot has this in shovel loads. The score for Spamalot was written by the hugely talented John Du Prez who most people will know from his writing of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life amongst a host of other big-name scores. There are so many amazing numbers in this show including, of course, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – which I expect everyone in aisles to be singing along with me.
Other than the productions you’ve starred in, what musicals do you enjoy?
I’m an opera boy really … I’ve only ever done one other musical and that was the special performance of Phantom of the Opera from the Royal Albert Hall a few years back so I’m really looking forward to this challenge. We were brought up with musical theatre when I was a kid so I’m a bit of a train spotter about it
You’ll be playing Sir Galahad at Wales Millennium Centre. What do you enjoy about performing in front of a Welsh audience?
Welsh audiences are second to none, they’re always ready to enjoy themselves and I love them.
You’ve gained huge success through playing Gio Compario in the Gocompare adverts, radio and tv presenting and music. When did you first discover that you had an aptitude for entertaining?
Well I was an opera singer for 15 years before Go Compare and loved being a principal at Welsh National Opera. It took me a while to work out that my strength was in comedy and when I did it was fab, but I love the Go Compare ads, playing that part has opened so many opportunities, like Spamalot.
Why do you think Wales has produced so many successful singers?
Everyone sings in Wales! It is totally acceptable to be a singer in wales and is encouraged. My dad was the best pub singer. He only had one song - Max Boyce’s Hymns and Arias. I remember introducing Max to my dad years later and my dad was star struck.
What’s next for you?
Well more ads, my daily show on BBC Radio Wales and loads of concerts so life is looking good.
How would you sell Spamalot to someone who hasn't experienced if before?
A night of laugh out loud fun! Let your hair down and enjoy the mayhem.
- With comic tunes including Brave Sir Robin, We’re Knights of the Round Table and perennial favourite Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Spamalot runs at Wales Millennium Centre until March 24. For booking details visit www.wmc.org.uk