Colin Flaherty talks to us about his role of King Arthur in our latest production of 'Spamalot, the Musical'.

“He’s an absolute buffoon – just like I am really!” laughs Colin Flaherty, who plays the hapless King Arthur in the musical Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Haymarket in Basingstoke this May. 

“I’ve never seen the show on stage, but I researched it on YouTube and just fell in love with the nonsense of it all!  You’ve got a killer rabbit, grown men galloping along on pretend horses, and of course the Black Knight who has his arms and legs chopped off before singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’!”

Colin is very familiar with Britain’s favourite comedy song in his real-life role as a funeral celebrant. “A surprising number of people choose it to be played at their funeral – it sort of embodies the British spirit doesn’t it?”  

What would you say to people who feel Monty Python isn’t for them? 

“Well if you like musicals you’ll love Spamalot, because it spoofs a whole range of other shows – and to be honest from the first scene you just embrace the silliness of it and enjoy each surprise as it comes along!” 

“It does remind me of being in a panto – an adult panto that is - but the trick is to play the part absolutely straight – which makes the ridiculous situations even funnier!”

Colin has been also taking sword fighting lessons and looks forward to impressing the audience with his physical prowess. “Yes it is quite a physical part for me, I’m delighted to be doing it!”

He’s full of praise for his fellow performers too. “The singing is fantastic! Everyone suits their parts so well too.  I can promise you’ll have a fantastic night at the theatre!”

Monty Python’s Spamalot runs at the Haymarket, Basingstoke from Tuesday 16-Saturday 20 May. Performances at 7.30pm plus a 2.30pm show on the Saturday.

Tickets at: or 01256 844244

The Full Monty review, Nov 2016 - Basingstoke Gazette

Director and choreographer Martyn Knight returns to The Haymarket this month after his award-winning BATS production of Sister Act.

He and his team, including musical director Julie Dance, now have something new for Basingstoke audiences, namely their 1980s-set version of the amateur stage treatment of the 1997 film The Full Monty, the hugely popular tale of a group of Sheffield blokes who reclaim some of their lost power and dignity by, ironically, getting their kit off. 

Its message remains pertinent, and its combination of politics and comedy may prove a welcome tonic for many after the roller coaster of the year so far. 

The men performing the opening number, 'Scrap'

The men performing the opening number, 'Scrap'

The girls performing 'It's a Woman's World'

The girls performing 'It's a Woman's World'

Kathy May-Miller is also terrific as the characterful piano player who supports the men through their dreadful early rehearsals. 

Martyn, in addition to the rest of his good work, cleverly uses his supporting cast to become the whooping audience at certain points.  

His show is obviously one for the adults due to the language and nudity (bare bottoms) but those appropriate audiences who do attend will surely find their spirits lifted by its cheeky charm!

Joanne Mace

The action takes place in the US, but retains the core message. And where the original made great use of pop songs such as You Can Leave Your Hat On, this treatment boasts all-new numbers by David Yazbek and Terrence McNally.

It’s hats off to the brave local amateur actors who dare to bare (their blushes spared at the key moment by clever lighting design) on stage for our entertainment: Paul Morris, John Eddie, Richard Bond, Ian Moseley, Bryn Hughes and Tim Bell.    

Some are unconventional leading men, but all are fully deserving of the spotlight, communicating the frustrations of these individuals (frustrations sometimes expressed through their language) and winning over those watching in both the comic and the more serious scenes. 

Gavin Brooker also deserves a mention for his bravery in the role of the performer who originally inspires the men and whose stripping routine opens the whole shebang. 

But the boys don’t have it all their own way throughout, as the show includes some lovely moments for the girls to shine; Holly Reedman, Sally Manning and Laura Newborough are brilliantly effective as the present and former spouses trying to support their men in crisis.

The Full Monty review, Nov 2016 - Newbury Weekly News

Dazzled by the big reveal! Standing ovation for BATS bravery in taking on The Full Monty.

Wow - it's a while since I have had such a good time at the theatre.  BATS took on the challenge of this gritty, poignant and hilarious show with such aplomb.

Not one for your maiden aunt perhaps, with its fruity dialogue and subject matter (though I could be wrong, judging by the large female contingent in the audience) but with terrific cast and hugely appreciative audience - it was a night to remember.

The men performing the final strip number

The men performing the final strip number

Based on the 1997 British Film, in this musical version of the action is switched to Buffalo, US. It mirrors the film plot, with six out-of-work steelworkers deciding to form a strip act to make some money. As they rehearse for the show, they expose their fears, self-consciousness, and personal back-stories (among other things), but ultimately find strength in their camaraderie.

The actors playing the six main characters - Paul Morris (Jerry Lukowski), John Eddie (Dave Bukatinsky), Richard Bond (Harold Nichols), Ian Moseley (Malcolm MacGregor), Bryn Hughes (Ethan Girard) and Tim Bell (Noah 'Horse' T Simmons) are to be congratulated on their individual portrayals, all of which were simply excellent, and particularly their commitment to the routines, - anything less than 100% and it wouldn't have worked.

The female roles were equally excellent, notably Holly Reedman (Georgie Bukatinsky), Laura Newborough (Pam Lukowski), Kathy May-Miller (Jeanette Burmeister) and the powerhouse that was Sally Manning (Vicki Nichols). There were numerous smaller characters of both genders and a superb ensemble - all maintaining the highest standards.

With great vocals, routines and a tight band all under the expert control of musical director, Julie Dance, fantastic humour, an effective set (with loads of well-handled scene changes), and incredible lighting, it really was one of which director and choreographer, Martyn Knight must be congratulated - together with BATS for taking on the challenge.

The final 'full monty' was cleverly and skilfully handled, with the audience dazzled by the lights as the boys did the actual 'deed', all prompting a thoroughly well-deserved rapturous standing ovation.

This was BATS in tip-top form.

Trevor Dobson



Pre-audition Workshops for Spamalot have begun!

BATS' next show is the award-winning musical, Spamalot, taking place in May 2017... and with auditions taking place in January, our pre-audition workshops are now underway.

Inspired by the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot is a musical which hilariously sends up everything we love (or perhaps don't love?!) about the theatre, while telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Spamalot audition poster

Spamalot audition poster

There are some fantastic roles to be filled (male and female) and this is where you come in. Are you interested in auditioning?  To find out more, do come along to one of our preview workshops to meet our members and to get the opportunity to learn the audition pieces, where our Director, Musical Director and Choreographers will be there to guide you through.

We are also looking for strong male dancers, so please spread the word to help us to cast another great show!

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