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September 3, 2015

Monty Python, minus Cleese, reunite for Not the Messiah in London

by Nick Zaino, posted Jul 10th 2009 8:01AM
Monty Pythong Not the Messiah He's a Very Naughty BoyAccording to the U.K. newspaper The Independent, an incomplete Monty Python reunion will take place in October for the premiere of the musical stage adaptation of Life of Brian, called Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy). Like Spamalot (which was based on The Holy Grail) this production was co-written by Eric Idle and composer John Du Prez, but unlike Spamalot, Idle himself will appear in this one.

The Independent
reports that the October 23 premiere at Royal Albert Hall will feature guest appearances by Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam. John Cleese, who provided a pre-recorded voice for Spamalot, is "unable to attend" the show, again according to The Independent. A couple of other Python regulars - Carol Cleveland and musician Neil Innes, are also slated for the show.

This sounds like a fantastic, nostalgic look back for Python fans, although as a Python fan myself, it might be tough to get used to someone else in the lead role. The Royal Albert Hall site lists William Ferguson as Brian. For me, Brian will always be Graham Chapman, who died in 1989.

I'm sure Idle will have changed the role and the story itself for the big stage production, so Ferguson won't have to compete with the manic energy that Chapman put into the film version. Chapman also managed to wring some real pathos out of it - I truly felt sorry for the guy as more and more people were convinced to follow the gourd or the shoe, or blamed him for leading people to their juniper bushes.

Still, what fan wouldn't want to see Idle, Palin, Jones, and Gilliam together again, even if just for a guest scenes? It was obvious the group still had chemistry when they got together in 1998 to be interviewed by Robert Klein at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. The fact that Cleveland and Innes are involved with this is even better. Innes and Idle were the main voices behind The Rutles, a Beatles send-up from two guys who actually knew the Beatles.

As for Cleese, the article gave no official reason for his absence. But IMDb has a couple of new projects listed, so it's possible he'll be filming the night of the premiere. Curious note, IMDb lists something called The Twits, which I hold out hope has something to do with the "Upper Class Twit of the Year," and doesn't refer to this bit from his blog. I can't afford IMDBPro, so I can't see the details. The other project is listed as coming out in 2012, an animated film called The Croods.

The Independent also reported a new six-part documentary celebrating 40 years of the troupe, called Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut), will screen in the US and eventually will be released on DVD.

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Danny Smith

Cleese had eye surgery last month. He is probably still recovering.

July 10 2009 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Alimony is a bitch.

July 10 2009 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"The Twits" is probably a movie based on the book by Roald Dahl.

July 10 2009 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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