Friday 18 July 2014

MONTY PYTHON LIVE- 1 Down 5 to Go.

The O2 London, Tuesday 15th July 2014.

First of all- All this silliness- now is this Beatles related review? YES IT IS. George in particular was a huge fan of Python and funded “Life of Brian” through Handmade Films in 1979. Eric Idle is a Rutle, and George appeared in “The Rutles” in 1978. So in answer to your question, yes this is a Beatles related review. Okay now carry on.

It was only the weekend before that I decided I wanted to see Python live. To my great luck I found tickets for £25 for this show so just had to buy. The venue is one tube stop from where I work so getting there was easy.

This seemed too good to be true. Arriving at the 02 around 5.30, I went to collect my tickets which hadn’t arrived from the agent. I was told to come back in 30 minutes. I did and again they hadn’t arrived and I was told that a number of people had been affected and I would be reallocated a new seat. Could I come back in 30 minutes?

By now I was thinking there was a secret camera on me and the Pythons were having a good laugh, so after a pint of Peroni, I made my way back to the collection desk and yes I had a new £90 ticket with a view to the side of the stage but right in line with the stage itself. 
Things were looking up and about to get a lot better. After some music from the orchestra the Pythons appeared to rapturous applause at 7.45. They posed for photographs and the large screens to the side of the stage suddenly were flashing “Photo Opportunity”. 
The show was a mixture of music, sketches old and new, dance routines and old footage from the original TV shows.
The first half lasted just over an hour and featured a sketch with Eric, John,Terry and Michael reminiscing about how times were hard in the old days but much more fun. All dressed very dapper in white suits; they proceeded to tell of their squalid living conditions as youngsters such as the hole in the ground covered with a sheet of tarpaulin.
Sketches were then done mainly in pairs and as one sketch ended the set was pushed off the stage and a new set pushed on with 2 more pythons acting out another sketch.
At one point old footage of Graham Chapman dressed as an army sergeant appeared on the big screens, telling them to stop this silliness and go for an outdoor sketch. Graham’s appearance brought huge applause from the audience. He is clearly still loved by the Pythons and fans alike. 
Eventually the first REALLY well known sketch appeared. With Michael Palin being interviewed by John Cleese about the most ideal job for him. Having been a chartered accountant for over 20 years, Cleese tells him that this is his ideal job. Palin tells Cleese he wants something more exciting and wants to be a lion tamer. 
After he describes the animal to Cleese and says “I can easily tame one of those”, Cleese then asks if this long nosed 4 legged creature eats ants. “Yes” comes the reply. Cleese then breaks the news that Palin has been describing an anteater and not a lion. Eventually Palin says “I wanna be................” the audience are ready for the word “Lumberjack” which eventually comes and we have “The Lumberjack Song” with the wonderful Carol Cleveland. 
The wonderful animations of Terry Gilliam were evident on the big screen throughout. Then we were treated to some old sketches on the screens while the Pythons changed costume. 
I hadn’t seen many of these for years and couldn’t stop laughing, like the lady in the next seat to me who was in fits throughout the whole show. 
The 1972 Olympics sketch was shown, featuring events such as the 100 yards- FOR PEOPLE WITH NO SENSE OF CO-ORDINATION, the Marathon, FOR INCONTINENT PEOPLE, who kept disappearing into the bushes for .... (well you know nudge nudge wink wink). Plus the football sketch between the Germans and the ancient Greeks- I really must re-visit the original series. 
A musical song with Eric leading the singing about the human body’s most sensitive parts followed.
A sketch with Michael and Eric as judges coming out of court into their changing rooms follows. Both remove their court attire to reveal women’s undergarments about their persons. Before they get to this point, Eric asks Michael “Did you handle the Cleese divorce?” 
“Which one?” comes the reply- (Audience laughter) 
A debate then ensues as to how many wives John Cleese has had! Wonderful. 
The second half began with the wonderful dancers performing a routine to “The Ministry of Silly Walks”. 
A sketch called “Science Today” featured Eric and John. Typical Python humour was occurring when suddenly Eric corpsed and was trying to conceal it. John then said something and Eric had gone. The audience loved it. John was dressed as a woman with theories about Dinosaurs and suddenly completely burst out laughing.“WONDERFUL STUFF”. 
The Spanish Inquisition followed soon after, and then we found Michael Palin going into an office environment with 3 desks. The first desk featured Carol Cleveland who asked “Have you come for an argument?” To which Michael saying in a timid voice “Yes”. “Oh go to the next desk” is the reply. Meeting Terry Jones at the next desk Michael is told this isn’t the argument desk- it’s the next one. Suddenly Terry is about to laugh, and by now the audience were loving this. 
The banter that follows with Michael and John Cleese who is on the final desk was wonderful, ending with Terry Gilliam being transported some 30 feet above the stage on a high wire. 
John Cleese then produces a shotgun and shoots Gilliam whose stomach explodes. 
Terry Jones then features in a sketch I hadn’t seen, as a manager of a chocolate company “Whizzo Chocolates”. Policemen Cleese and Gilliam then converge on the factory regarding the contents of each chocolate, which include frog’s legs. Poor Gilliam has to taste these awful things and is eventually sick (not really- it’s staged of course). 
The game show Blackmail featured an incomplete jigsaw on the big screen with Michael Palin saying “To prevent us from revealing the identity of the 2 men with these women at a garage in Guildford, £4000 is required”. 
No phone call is forthcoming and the jigsaw starts to fill in revealing James May and ¾ of Jeremy Clarkson from “Top Gear” (a BBC show for those who aren’t aware). The phone rings and Palin says “Oh Hi Jeremy..... So the cheques in the post? Wonderful”
A person is then brought on who has a dark secret with a paper bag over their head to conceal his/her identity. On this night a small midget was brought onto the stage and the audience asked if this was a celebrity or not. 
Well who could it be? The audience were mostly shouting “Non celeb” and suddenly the bag was removed to reveal Warwick Davis. He got a well earned round of applause. 
As we approached the end the more famous sketches came to the fore. SPAM, the nudge nudge wink wink with Eric and Terry Jones, and of course the ”Dead Parrot” sketch. A great mix of dances, sketches, TV clips, music and laughter. 
I had such a wonderful night and hope George was having a large laugh from above, which I’m sure he was.
You can catch the last show on 20th July live on UK Gold or local cinemas. If it’s anywhere near as good as this, believe me you are in for a treat.

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