Monty Python Live (Mostly)
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Monty Python Live Mostly
Monty Python Live (Mostly)
Monty Python Live (Mostly).jpg
The opening of the first reunion performance.
CompanyMonty Python
GenreComedy
Show typeSketch show, musical
Date of premiere1 July 2014 (2014-07-01)
Final show20 July 2014 (2014-07-20)
LocationThe O2, London
Creative team
Written and conceived by
Other information
Slogan"One Down, Five to Go"

Monty Python Live (Mostly) (also billed as Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go[1]) 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."[2]

Overview

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.[3] The latter would be performed by a full chorus line, choreographed by Arlene Phillips.[4] The music was to be arranged and conducted by Idle's long-time collaborator, John Du Prez.[5] The ten stage shows were held on 1-5 and 15-20 July 2014.[6] Tickets for the first night of the show sold out in 43 seconds of being available to purchase.[7]

"Who wants to see that again, really? It's a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money - the best one died years ago!"

--Mick Jagger in a promo video for the shows.[8]

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.[9]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.[10][11]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.[12] When the show was released on video, it was dedicated to Williams.[12]

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.[1][13] 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.[14] 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.

Critical reception

Critical reviews of the show were generally positive. Ed Power from The Telegraph wrote, it was "poignant and predictable, but tremendous fun."[13]

The negatively tinged review from the Daily Mail was incorporated into the last show with John Cleese and Michael Palin mocking the newspaper and its editor, Paul Dacre onstage.[13]

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.[15]

Cast

The Pythons

with

Also featuring

Special guests (in the 'Blackmail' sketch)

Cameos (pre-recorded)

  • Professor Brian Cox (also appeared onstage at the end of the final show)
  • Professor Stephen Hawking (in the 20 July show, Hawking is seen in the audience following his recorded appearance)

Sketches and songs

According to Dominic Cavendish at The Telegraph[16]

Act One

Act Two

°Song was later released as a single by Stephen Hawking

References

  1. ^ a b "Global finale for Monty Python show on stage and in cinemas". BBC. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ Grow, Kory. "Watch Mick Jagger Dryly Accuse Monty Python of Being 'Wrinkly Old Men'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ Cleese, John (2014). So Anyway... Random House.
  4. ^ "Arlene Phillips wants John Cleese to stretch himself for Monty Python reunion". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "Monty Python Live (Mostly) review - Parrot fashion and no bad thing for that". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ "Monty Python's Official Web Site-Live Shows". Montypython.com. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Wilkinson, Peter (25 November 2013). "Monty Python reunion show sells out in 43 seconds". CNN. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ "John Cleese and Mick Jagger are wrong - Monty Python's silly walks are still hilarious". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ "At Monty Python Reunion Show, The Circus Makes One Last Flight". NPR. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ McAfee, Melonyce (14 April 2015). "Stephen Hawking sings Monty Python's 'Galaxy Song'". CNN. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ Grow, Korry (14 April 2015). "Hear Stephen Hawking Sing Monty Python's 'Galaxy Song'". RollingStone. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Monty Python reunion: Eric Idle on his late friend Robin Williams". EW. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "Monty Python live (mostly), review: poignant and predictable, but tremendous fun". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Alex Young (September 16, 2014). "Monty Python's final reunion show to be released on DVD and Blu-ray". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2015.
  15. ^ Monty Python team pocket £2.2m each from reunion shows and raise more than £20,000 for charities The Sunday Herald (Scotland), July 17, 2014. URL accessed February 4, 2018.
  16. ^ Dominic Cavendish. "The almost-definitive guide to Monty Python Live (Mostly)". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014.

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