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Monty Python Live (Mostly)

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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 34 years, the first without member Graham Chapman, who died in 1989, and to date it has been their last

Contents

  • 1 Overview
  • 2 Critical reception
  • 3 Cast
    • 31 The Pythons
    • 32 Also featuring
    • 33 Special guests in the 'Blackmail' sketch
  • 4 Sketches and songs
    • 41 Act One
    • 42 Act Two
  • 5 References

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[2] 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] The first night of the show sold out in 45 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[7] 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[8][9] 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[10] When the show was released on Video, it was dedicated to Williams

The last of the ten performances was broadcast in the UK on Gold TV and internationally in cinemas by Fathom Events through a Dish Network satellite link on Sunday 20 July 2014[1][11] 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[12] 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 60cm 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 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

The negatively tinged review from the Daily Mail[13] was incorporated into the last show with John Cleese and Michael Palin criticising the newspaper and its editor, Paul Dacre[11]

The ten-night show was a financial success, allowing the members of the troupe to pay off their creditor and to each pocket ₤22 million, and also to donate substantially to selected charities as well[14]

Cast

The Pythons

  • John Cleese
  • Terry Gilliam
  • Eric Idle
  • Terry Jones
  • Michael Palin

with

  • Graham Chapman archive footage

Also featuring

  • Carol Cleveland
  • Samuel Holmes

Special guests in the 'Blackmail' sketch

  • Stephen Fry - on the 1 July show
  • Lee Mack - on the 2 July show also appeared onstage at the end of the final show
  • Bill Bailey - on the 3 July show
  • Noel Fielding - on the 4 July show
  • Matt Lucas - on the 5 July show
  • Warwick Davis - on the 15 July show also appeared onstage at the end of the final show
  • Simon Pegg - on the 16 July show
  • David Walliams - on the 18 July show
  • Eddie Izzard - on the 19 July show also appearing as a celebrity 'Bruce' on 20 July and appeared at the end
  • Mike Myers - on the 20 July show

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[15]

Act One

  • Overture
  • 'One Down, Five To Go'/TARDIS animation
  • Llamas
  • Opening Sequence
  • Four Yorkshiremen
  • Flying Mouth animation
  • The Fish-Slapping Dance video
  • World War Fish animation
  • Penis Song Not the Noël Coward Song - expanded with a vagina verse and a bum verse
  • The Naval Medley/Ypres 1914
  • Colonel Stopping It video
  • Batley Townswomen's Guild Presents the Battle of Pearl Harbour video
  • David's Fig Leaf animation
  • Why Michelangelo Didn't Paint "The Last Supper"
  • Every Sperm Is Sacred
  • Protestant Couple
  • God Complaining About the Show redubbed footage from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Silly Olympics on screen video from Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  • Vocational Guidance Counsellor
  • The Lumberjack Song
  • Charles Atlas-Dynamic Tension animation
  • The Philosophers' Football Match, first half on screen video from the second Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus episode
  • Bruces
  • Bruces' Philosophers Song
  • The Philosophers' Football Match, second half on screen
  • Crunchy Frog
  • Blood, Devastation, Death, War And Horror
  • I Like Chinese

Act Two

  • 2nd Overture
  • Spam Lake dance routine
  • Sit on My Face
  • The Death of Mary, Queen Of Scots
  • Penguin on the Television
  • Gumby Flower Arranging
  • Camp Judges
  • Full Frontal Nudity animation
  • Albatross
  • Nudge Nudge
  • Nudge Rap/Blackmail dance routine
  • Blackmail
  • Miss Anne Elk
  • Conrad Poohs and his Dancing Teeth animation
  • Spanish Inquisition
  • Galaxy Song
  • Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking°
  • Venus / Portrait People Dancing animation
  • The Silly Walk Song dance routine
  • Argument Clinic
  • I've Got Two Legs
  • Captions
  • Spam / Finland
  • Pet Shop / Cheese Shop / Come Back To My Place
  • The Exploding Version of the Blue Danube on screen
  • The Lady Eating Pram / Musical Statues animation
  • Christmas In Heaven
  • encore: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

°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 21 July 2014 
  2. ^ "John Cleese: Monty Python reunion is happening because of my £800,000 legal bill" Daily Mirror May 23, 2014 Retrieved 2014-12-28 Last July, the Pythons lost a royalties case to Mark Forstater, who produced 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail  
  3. ^ Cleese, John 2014 So Anyway Random House 
  4. ^ "Arlene Phillips wants John Cleese to stretch himself for Monty Python reunion" The Telegraph Retrieved 1 January 2015 
  5. ^ "Monty Python Live Mostly review - Parrot fashion and no bad thing for that" The Guardian Retrieved 3 January 2015 
  6. ^ "Monty Python's Official Web Site-Live Shows" Montypythoncom Retrieved 14 January 2018 
  7. ^ "At Monty Python Reunion Show, The Circus Makes One Last Flight" NPR Retrieved 21 July 2014 
  8. ^ McAfee, Melonyce 14 April 2015 "Stephen Hawking sings Monty Python's 'Galaxy Song'" CNN Retrieved 12 January 2017 
  9. ^ Grow, Korry 14 April 2015 "Hear Stephen Hawking Sing Monty Python's 'Galaxy Song'" RollingStone Retrieved 12 January 2017 
  10. ^ "Monty Python reunion: Eric Idle on his late friend Robin Williams" EW Retrieved 11 November 2014 
  11. ^ a b "Monty Python live mostly, review: poignant and predictable, but tremendous fun" The Telegraph Retrieved 21 July 2014 
  12. ^ Alex Young September 16, 2014 "Monty Python's final reunion show to be released on DVD and Blu-ray" Consequence of Sound Retrieved July 10, 2015 
  13. ^ "So are the surviving Monty Pythons just flogging a dead parrot" Daily Mail Retrieved 21 July 2014 
  14. ^ Monty Python team pocket £22m each from reunion shows and raise more than £20,000 for charities The Sunday Herald Scotland, July 17, 2014 URL accessed February 4, 2018
  15. ^ Dominic Cavendish "The almost-definitive guide to Monty Python Live Mostly" The Telegraph Retrieved 21 July 2014 

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