|Monty Python Live (Mostly)|
The opening of the first reunion performance.
|Show type||Sketch show, musical|
|Date of premiere||1 July 2014|
|Final show||20 July 2014|
|Location||The O2, London|
|Written and conceived by|
|Slogan||"One Down, Five to Go"|
Monty Python Live (Mostly) (also billed as Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go) was a stage show by the Monty Python comedy group in The O2 in London in July 2014. Planned as a single performance for 1 July, it was expanded to 10 shows due to the high demand for tickets. It was their first live performance together in 16 years, the second without member Graham Chapman (who died in 1989) and the last with Terry Jones before his death in 2020.
The final date was broadcast in cinemas around the world on 20 July. Prior to this Eric Idle stated, "It is a world event and that's really quite exciting. It means we're actually going to say goodbye publicly on one show. Nobody ever has the chance to do that. The Beatles didn't get a last good night."
In 2013, the Pythons lost a legal case to Mark Forstater, the producer of their second film, Holy Grail, over royalties for its musical adaptation Spamalot. They owed a combined £800,000 ($994,600) in legal fees and back royalties to Forstater. To pay these, a reunion show was proposed. It soon became apparent to the group that owing to his theatrical experience with the creation of Spamalot (and because his schedule was free), Eric Idle was best suited to supervise the production. He envisaged an extensive assembly of the best-known Python sketches; to facilitate costume changes, they would be linked by short video clips and elaborate routines of the troupe's songs. The latter would be performed by a full chorus line, choreographed by Arlene Phillips. The music was to be arranged and conducted by Idle's long-time collaborator, John Du Prez. The ten stage shows were held on 1-5 and 15-20 July 2014. Tickets for the first night of the show sold out in 43 seconds of being available to purchase.
All five surviving Pythons performed on stage together for the first time in 34 years, with archive footage of Graham Chapman interspersed throughout the show. The three-hour show had a 30-minute intermission. The show was billed as "The show that leaves you wanting less". Some of the sketches were updated to include contemporary references.Carol Cleveland, who appeared in many of the original TV episodes, assisted by playing additional characters, as did newcomer Samuel Holmes, who was given several lead roles, some of which were originally played by Chapman. Eddie Izzard made a small guest appearance as a 'Bruce' on the final night, as well as having appeared the previous evening as the 'Blackmail' special guest. There were also surprise cameos by (amongst others) Stephen Fry, Mike Myers, and Professors Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking. Cox and Hawking were shown in a pre-recorded video towards the end of the Galaxy Song. While Cox was criticising the scientific flaws of the song lyrics, he was run down by Hawking in his wheelchair, who continued to sing the song.Robin Williams was scheduled to be the 'Blackmail' special guest for the final night but declined, as according to Idle he was "suffering from severe depression" at the time, which ultimately contributed to his suicide in August 2014. When the show was released on video, it was dedicated to Williams.
The last of the ten performances was broadcast in the UK on the television channel Gold and internationally in cinemas by Fathom Events through a Dish Network satellite link on Sunday 20 July 2014. The filming of the performance was directed by Aubrey Powell. The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray, download and streaming on 11 November 2014. A re-edited audio-only recording of the show was exclusively included on two Compact Discs which formed part of the "Deluxe Edition" of the release - a 60-page 12 inch (60 cm) square hardback picture book with the DVD, Blu-ray and the two CDs housed inside the back cover. The audio only recording of the show omits some material due to its highly visual nature but includes additional dialogue and material not included in the video version. The CDs have a combined running time of 2 hours and five minutes.
The ten-night show was a financial success, allowing the members of the troupe to pay off their creditor, each pocket £2.2 million and to donate substantially to selected charities.
According to Dominic Cavendish at The Telegraph
°Song was later released as a single by Stephen Hawking