Monty Python Live (Mostly)
One of Britain’s oldest institutions are back together again at the O2 Arena London and did not disappoint! Re-grouping after 31 years the spark was not lost, energy levels were high and the laughs were plentiful.
Monty Python are a rich part of our cultural history and are now inspiring a new generation of fans. As a younger viewer I know of the legacy of Monty Python and it was apparent that some of the nation’s most beloved sketches were being played out before my very eyes.
The show was a fantastic combination of the surviving living legends John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Terry Jones mixed with the younger incredibly talented dance ensemble and remarkable musicality of the live band for large scale sing along musical numbers. Social media was incorporated keeping true to the Monty Python brand using original “footage” with the use of the massive screens of the O2 (mainly to cover scene changes) helping to see how far the Python institution has grown and developed, there were also on screen guest appearances by Stephen Hawking and Professor Brian Cox proving that everyone wants a piece of the action.
In true reflection of the fact it was once a television series, scenes were created on an intimate and dynamic set lending themselves to the sketches fans know and love. With an audience of 20,000 people it is an astonishing achievement, as an individual you feel that the joke is an intimate one with the performers on stage.
The cast have clearly aged, John Cleese notably with a sometimes slower delivery, yet their spirit still lives on as does their zest and energy for what they have created. Costumes were kept simple and fans emulated their passion for certain characters as there were many “Popes” and “Bruce’s” to be found in the audience. Appealing to hard core fans but equally as a piece of standalone performance, the Python’s have created timeless comedy.
The show was dedicated to the sixth Python Graham Chapman, who died in 1989 but not in a sombre manor, instead closing the show with Eric Idle’s beloved “Always look on the bright side of life” which left the audience on their feet singing along and dancing in the isles. This thoroughly entertaining performance is a five out of five and definitely one not to be missed as it is quite possibly the last time the collective shall be seen together.
A feel good show and a true historical spectacular, only the Python’s could end the show with a sign on the O2 screens reading “Piss Off” leaving the audience in hysterics.
Reviewed by Matthew Wren