The light in Oslo is very fine. Perhaps because it’s the time of year or perhaps it is always like that but it comes in at a low angle under the clouds, lighting up the castle with golden light at sunset and lingering in fine shrouds of pink overhead for the longest time. On my tourist day I am taken to the massive metal ski jump which extends in an unfinished parabola up to the sky itself. We mount a cable car elevator which slides us up the mountain to a truly breathtaking view of Oslo, which tantalizingly appears and disappears as the vast complex clouds come rolling in. When we climb the final few yards to the top of the extraordinary steel structure there is an all-metal area where we stand amongst the clouds themselves, which pass us in wisps, now and again leaving us in sunlight with staggering views of the mountainside and valleys far below us. It’s like being God, I say to Anders Albien, our Spamalot director.
I am glad to see that John Cleese is back being God in our Norwegian production. The Daily Quail made much of us being at war over playing God, when in fact the truth is simpler: Chris Luscombe the UK director wanted God to appear on stage and it was cheaper and easier for me to film it, than to try and drag John in from somewhere and force him to wear all that white hair and make-up. So there Daily Grail, we are not at war, and would it help you believe it if I tell you my weekly fee goes to Great Ormond Street Hospital? What could be more Godlike?
The Norse Gods were clearly smiling on us when we opened the play. I have become so accustomed to the British cut down review version of Spamalot that I had quite forgotten how splendidly thrilling the full musical version can be, and both I and Oslo were bowled over at opening night. Six or eight curtain calls, we could have gone on all night, staggering reviews, and an amazing cast whom I got to know a little in the all too few days I was there. On my promo day the print journalists were suitably circumspect after my last blog rant, and the researcher sent by the tv show to prep questions, confessed herself scared, declared herself “a minion” and revealed herself as a Nordic blonde Goddess of very agreeable proportions. In fact the Norwegians of all sexes were very kind, friendly and lovely to me. The cast contained every possible star of film and TV with the possible exception of Liv Ullman, who was herself a big fan of our Sir Robin, as indeed was I, a young actor of terrific weight. But the whole cast was weighty from Arthur to Galahad, from Lancelot to Bedevere, not to mention an hilarious Prince Herbert, and Kim our engaging Swedish Patsy.
Now you’re going to have to forgive me not naming names here as I have left my programme in Oslo, but I must just mention our Lady of the Lake, short of stature, feisty of spirit, with sparking dark eyes, and an unbelievable voice. She just tore apart Find Your Grail. Indeed the whole company’s singing and dancing was extremely impressive and the musical numbers drove the whole production. It was great to see the scantily clad ladies of the chorus back. I don’t know what it is about young women dancing in lingerie that I find so appealing….oh that’s right, yes I do, but suffice it to say that these girls gladdened the eye, and thrilled the heart with their talent, and of course they all wanted their pictures taken with me afterwards which I reluctantly agreed to. (Yeah right Eric.) So thank you Oslogians, especially Bjorn our Producer, as I said on stage at the opening night I know only one word in Norwegian and that is “Ni.”
Also lest you think I am a bullshitter you may have noticed that my piece was not in the New Yorker this week as I had vainly promised, and no I am not suffering from delusions brought on by being treated like a God in Norway, they assure me they are publishing it but now at the end of October.