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♫I Think We Love Them...♫ - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
♫I Think We Love Them...♫
When I first heard about, and immediately suggested seeing, today's in-cinema stream of the final Monty Python (Almost) Live show from London's O2 Arena, I knew it would fall on Eleanor's birthday. I was honest with her that I was offering to see something that was more within my wheelhouse than hers.

(The title reference is a homage to that. In college, one roommate's little brother- now in his 40s, grrr- tended to give his parents presents that he really wanted for himself. Most famed among these was, one Christmas, gracing Mom and Dad with the latest Partridge Family album.)

Not that Eleanor is unfamiliar with, or disliking of, Python humour. Our first date film was Terry Gilliam's Brazil, and Holy Grail was one of the first DVDs we ever purchased.  Still, before and certainly after the events of the past few days, I was conscious of being sure this was something she, too, would enjoy.

KnowwhaImean, knowwhaImean, wink wink, nudge nudge?

No worries with that. We both sang along, both laughed along and were both touched by the majesty of these longtime friends' final moments together with their most famed of material.

The almost three hours, split an hour in by a 30-minute intermission (no ALBATROSS! was on offer in the aisles, although Cleese did do that bit in Act 2), mixed mostly tv-series bits and quite a few songs from both those shows and the later 70s, Idle-music-heavy, Contractual Obligation recording. A small but talented live pit orchestra accompanied (and it was nice that the camera people focused on all of them playing and conducting during the second half overture), and full choruses of singers and dancers accompanied the songs we knew and didn't.

The live bits, mostly best-of's with a few I didn't remember as well, were interspersed with primarily Gilliam animations lifted from the original series. For a bunch of septuagenarians, they were remarkably spry in getting their costume and set changes in as the show moved on.  There were some updates- David Attenborough replaced Doctor Bloody Bernofsky as the know-it-all referenced in the Penguin sketch, and Graham Chapman is briefly and lovingly deified toward the end of the proceedings.  Also, some lovely flubs: Idle's fake 'stache was half-off from the beginning of "Wink Wink" and he ripped it off to thunderous applause halfway through; the gay Mister Justices made fun of the "Cleese Divorce" (primarily by riffing on "which one?"); and John  lost his lines and/or his composure in at least two bits, recovering nicely both times.

Spoilers, such as they are, are fair game paragraph after next.

Carol Cleveland was prominent in many of the bits, and has held up in voice and appearance at least as well as the boys.  The musical numbers from the original episodes (Spam, Philosophers' Song, Lumberjack) all came off well- Idleolatries  from the records, like "I Like Chinese" and "Sit on My Face," were cute but, like the Michael Ellis episode, maybe weren't the highest and best use of everyones' time.

But the guests were.  Eddie Izard shoed up as a Bruce. That is not a typo- he was in heels. Not sure about whether the makeup was beyond that of the stage.  During "Blackmail," Mike Myers made a surprise appearance as a mystery guest, and basically did a Wayne's World "WE'RE NOT WORTHY" in utter destruction of any fourth wall that was ever, actually, there. (And there was one uniquely filmed-offstage joke which I will not spoil, except to share the joy of seeing the punch-liner of the sketch live in the O2 audience for the final performance.)

By the end, with Inquisition, Argument, Parrot, Cheese Shop and Spam all coming in succession, and with an overdone Christmassy musical number as the alleged finale, we both knew what one bit was left- for what they plainly counted down to as the "scheduled spontaneous encore." Eric came out with a guitar, his mates surrounded him, he acknowledged the worldwide audience and asked us to join all 15-20,000 of them in the house, in the song that had much unintended irony for Eleanor and me after the past few days (the singing starts about a minute in):

Forty-five years to the year this comic genius began, and 45 years to the day after the world shared a walk on the moon, we witnessed them end their unique partnership with something just as shared and wonderful: One silly walk for five men, one flying circus of a leap for us all.
2 comments or Leave a comment
ecosopher From: ecosopher Date: July 21st, 2014 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
What a very cool idea to stream it into a cinema! Python is awesome. I must see if we can get hold of this, too--no doubt they'll put it out on DVD.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: July 22nd, 2014 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope they will- most of these streamers eventually do (still wishing Sherlock & Holmes will authorise their NT Frankenstein to be released)- but as we say, check your local listings, because there are re-airings in cinemas this very week:

2 comments or Leave a comment