Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones.
There will be many who will never get what it was all about but for the multitude, Monty Python followed a natural path that had been laid down by The Frost Report, That Was The Week That Was and The Goons, the ability to send up Britain, the revolution of the way we looked at ourselves as a nation in the post war era and in how we finally were able to put two crafty fingers up to a hierarchy in which didn’t care.
For a few select nights the 02 Arena in London has been the home of Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, five of the original Pythons, five men who are steeped in comedy legend and whom endeared themselves to a lost generation, a generation that needed something completely different to laugh at, something so absurd that it was more real than the offer of a plate of Spam or being hit round the side of the head with a piece of dead fish, it needed to be absurd to reflect life in Britain after World War Two. That absurdity has not gone away, if anything it has got worse, thankfully it is still possible to pull five men out of their day jobs, bring them together and watch logic and the rational go out of the window as if carried by an African Swallow.
Of course the sadness of the evening that was filmed live and beamed around the world was much in evidence as images of Graham Chapman played out above the heads of the five remaining members in odd segments but as songs, dance routines, trained by Arlene Philips and the return of sketches that millions would never have seen in their original broadcast, the laughter outweighed the regret a thousand fold.
All things must end, some sooner than others but as the curtain came down at the 02 Arena in London on the Monty Python era, it will be remembered with much fondness and whether you were fortunate enough to see the five remaining members of Python on stage in the raw and with their pants down or in one of the many cinemas around the world soaking up the laughter that echoed around the auditorium, it was a night in which to be in the company of others, to recite old favourites with a grin firmly plastered upon the face and recall the days in which Britain embraced the subversive, the anarchic and revolutionary.
Monty Python remain a law unto themselves.
Ian D. Hall