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"Spamalots" smash world coconut orchestra record

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Thousands of people in London’s Trafalgar Square smashed the record for the world’s largest coconut orchestra on Monday evening.

Members of the public play coconuts as they attempt to break the Guinness World Record for world's largest coconut orchestra in London's Trafalgar Square April 23, 2007. The event, organized by cast members of musical Monty Python's Spamalot, is part of the Mayor of London's St. George's Day celebrations. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

Original Monty Python Stars Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam led 5,567 members of the public and cast members from the musical “Monty Python’s Spamalot” in a rendition of their classic singalong “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” to claim the Guinness World Record title.

The previous record for the largest number of people gathered in one location playing coconuts at the same time stood at 1,789 and was set in March 2002 in New York, according to Guinness World Records. The song is a well known tune which featured in the 1979 Monty Python film “Life of Brian”.

Spamalot Musical Director Michael England led a brief practice, before conducting the thousands of coconut players, who clip-clopped along to the music over loudspeakers and sang the lyrics, which were projected on a giant screen behind him.

“It’s a technique originated by Britons, so it’s only right that we hold the record,” England said on Tuesday.

The record attempt was inspired by the 1975 comedy film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” from which Spamalot has been “lovingly ripped off”. In the movie knights pretend to ride horses while porters bang coconut shells together to make the clip-clopping noise of hooves.

England said the preparations for the attempt pre-occupied the cast in the days ahead of their Trafalgar Square appearance.

“Everywhere you go you can hear people banging their nuts together,” he said.

Thousands of coconut shells were ordered for the attempt, each labelled ‘left’ and ‘right’.

On hand to verify the attempt was the editor of Guinness World Records, Craig Glenday.