Monty Python Live (Mostly)
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (May 2017)|
|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"|
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. 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. 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 DVD, 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. The filming of the performance was directed by Aubrey Powell. The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming on 11 November 2014.
Critical reviews of the show were generally positive.
- Graham Chapman (archive footage)
- Carol Cleveland
- Samuel Holmes
Special guests (in the 'Blackmail' sketch)
- Stephen Fry - on the 1 July show
- Lee Mack - on the 2 July 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
- 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)
- Mike Myers - on the 20 July show
- Professor Brian Cox
- 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
- 'One Down, Five To Go'/TARDIS animation
- 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' Philosophers Song
- The Philosophers' Football Match, second half (on screen)
- Crunchy Frog
- Blood, Devastation, Death, War And Horror
- I Like Chinese
- 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)
- Nudge Nudge
- Nudge Rap/Blackmail (dance routine)
- 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
- 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
- "Global finale for Monty Python show on stage and in cinemas". BBC. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "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. ...
- Cleese, John (2014). So Anyway... Random House.
- "Arlene Phillips wants John Cleese to stretch himself for Monty Python reunion". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
- "Monty Python Live (Mostly) review - Parrot fashion and no bad thing for that". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "At Monty Python Reunion Show, The Circus Makes One Last Flight". NPR. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- McAfee, Melonyce (14 April 2015). "Stephen Hawking sings Monty Python's 'Galaxy Song'". CNN. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- Grow, Korry (14 April 2015). "Hear Stephen Hawking Sing Monty Python's 'Galaxy Song'". RollingStone. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- "Monty Python reunion: Eric Idle on his late friend Robin Williams". EW. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "Monty Python live (mostly), review: poignant and predictable, but tremendous fun". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- 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.
- "So are the surviving Monty Pythons just flogging a (dead) parrot?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- Dominic Cavendish. "The almost-definitive guide to Monty Python Live (Mostly)". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2014.