Monday, August 04, 2014

Monty Python Live (Mostly) at the O2 Arena

Saturday 19-July-2014.

The first time I saw the Pythons live was w-a-a-y back on Sunday 31-Jan-1971 at the Lanchester Polytechnic Arts Festival in Coventry.

I went to the "Mixed Media" show to see Ivor Cutler, Adrian Henri and Curved Air feat. Sonja Kristina. Then, en masse, the audience decamped down the road to the Belgrade Theatre for the midnight show by Monty Python's Flying Circus.

The crowd were chanting "Na Na Na Na Hey Hey-ey Goodbye" as we made the short journey between venues. Many wore knotted handkerchiefs on their head declaiming "My brain hurts". The Pythons did all the classics including the dead parrot - always a favourite.

I can tell you today's O2 Arena tickets cost a deal more than 12 shillings (that is 50p in your new fangled decimal money).

When this event came up we just had to go. There was a massive dead parrot in the concourse and I had to wait my turn for this photo opportunity with many others doing the same.

A suitably Gilliam-esque proscenium arch.

When the members of the cast appeared there was a surge of photo taking drolly anticipated by "Photo Opportunity" captions.

The show was a mix of live performance, vintage TV clips and song and dance routines from a much younger troupe. The photo below is Bruces sketch if I recall correctly.

I think the Telegraph summed it up best: "Poignant and predictable, but tremendous fun." [Three stars]

"If the best parts were predictable they were tremendous fun too. The arrival of the Spanish Inquisition showcased Python's gift for high-strung irascibility; Dead Parrot blurred the divide between end-of-pier and Beckett-esque existentialism (Palin briefly floundered, blindsided by what felt like an impromptu swipe by Cleese against the Daily Mail). Four Yorkshiremen, arguably their cleverest, least over-egged routine, was reprised beat for beat – ironic considering it skewers the same impulse to mythologize the past Python were now party to." Full review...

The Guardian gave it three stars as well.

"This was always going to be a parade of the greatest hits; everyone expected the Spanish Inquisition, not to mention the Lumberjack Song, Cheese Shop, Dead Parrot and Spam. These are all duly delivered, often ingeniously segued into one another. But there are some less familiar gems too. It was a joy to be reminded of the Exploding Penguin sketch, as well as Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses, performed with such glorious deadpan by John Cleese that Idle fights to keep a straight face throughout." Full review...

So many people with knotted handkerchiefs on their head declaiming "My brain hurts". They did all the classics including the dead parrot - always a favourite.When we got home Team Fluffy were standing by their food bowls awaiting, nay demanding, a midnight snack. It was indeed the stroke of midnight as this was taken.

A fine evening's entertainment.

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