I’m sure many of you don’t appreciate the humour of Monty Python because it is very much an acquired taste. But those of us who were brought up in the black-and-white TV era appreciate the wit and insightful comment that Monty Python brought to the screens at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, not to mention their successful “Holy Grail” and “Life of Brian” films.
All of which meant that the announcement of some live concerts at the O2 in London created a unique opportunity to see five of the six Pythons in action… So I went with my two sons and a friend and am terribly happy that I did.
This was the first time I had been to the O2 and it’s quite a location, especially if you arrive there via the Emirates SkyLine.
We attended the second Monty Python Live (Mostly) concert (July 2). I had read the reviews of the first night and discovered that most of the critics were unhappy because the show was basically a rerun of many popular sketches including “Four Yorkshiremen” (above). However, that’s exactly what I expected and my view appeared to be shared by the vast majority of the 16,000 crowd, not many of whom looked for new breakthrough comedy from the 70+ year old stars.
Lots of people arrived dressed up as their favourite characters. Many red-caped cardinals were to be seen along with a group of Gumbys complete with their most precious wellington boots. I also saw one nattily-dressed gentleman who had forgotten his trousers – or simply wanted to show off what nice underclothes he had.
The show developed very much as expected with famous sketches being interspersed by some energetic song and dance routines that gave the Pythons a rest.
I thought Michael Palin was terrific with Eric Idle a close second. Palin’s delivery of the “Lumberjack song” was great as was his delivery in the Spanish Inquisition. Idle’s singing was excellent too and he boasted a tasteful number in black lingerie too.
John Cleese was a larger, better padded, and much-rounder version of the younger Cleese who is no longer capable of performing silly walks. That didn’t stop his wit showing through, notably in the argument sketch.
However, the best moment of the show came when the Cleese and Palin reunited for the Pet Shop sketch and both managed to forget their lines, much to the delight of the audience and their mutual amusement. It was quite something to note how many of the audience were able to recite the lines about the famous parrot as the sketch developed. Truly these were true believers.
I thought it interesting that Terry Gillam took a more up-front role in the sketches, probably because there’s a certain limit to the number of cartoons that can be deployed in a live show. He popped up as the redoubtable Gumby in the flower arrangement sketch and later on as Cardinal Fang of the Spanish Inquisition. All good stuff
All of the sketches I anticipated showed up and were a delight. In fact, the whole show was a barrel of laughs from start to finish.
The live shows come to an end on July 20. However, this show will be broadcast to cinemas around the world on that date and is also due for rebroadcast on July 23 and 24. I might just attend it again.
For those who are interested, all of the photos shown with the exception of the SkyLine shot were taken from the general body of the audience using my son’s Canon S120 digital camera. As obvious here, the low-light performance of this camera was pretty impressive for something that easily fits into a pocket! I used the camera on my Nokia Lumia 1020 to take the photo from the SkyLine.
Follow Tony @12Knocksinna
Sadly we could not afford the time and expense to dash off to London from the States, so we’ll have to content ourselves with tickets for one of the cinema shows next week. I’ve been looking forward to seeing them together again, and your post makes it clear we’re in for a great evening with the Pythons.
I had a friend at School who was mad on Python and would continually quote from sketches etc, sadly I never quite got the humour.