Eric Idle and John Cleese are “Together Again at Last, for the Very First Time” — that’s the name of their show, and these living legends certainly had me enjoying their quirky comedy live and singing along to the many memorable tunes Idle composed over the years. Cleese, as a producer, recounted how Monty Python formed (it was through fortunate circumstance) and while some of the content is familiar — from his previous tours — to see the two join forces showed just how loved they are by fans.
They talked about the origins of the group and two of their movies: Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian near the end of the first act. With Spamalot by the Victoria Operatic Society still fresh in memory, to be reminded of this Arthurian tale not only had me wondering which parts of the films they enjoyed the most. When Cleese talked about what worked cinematically, I get the sense he wants to be more involved in the production of a film. It’s a medium he’s embraced and to hear him praise cinematographer Terry Bedford as to how to comedy should be captured on film, had the movie editor in me take mental notes. His little lecture reminded me in how live skits should really get recorded so nothing is missed. Instead of relying on consistent cuts for close-ups and focusing on one character, a better technique is to go wide, and let the actors do their routine. That is, the camera is better off left to catch the action as a single shot.
John Cleese and Eric Idle officially announced a return tour of North America this morning on the John Cleese and Eric Idle Together Again at Last… for the Very Last Time website. In all the duo from Monty Python, one of the most influential comedy teams of the 20th century, are embarking on a 16 city, 20 date tour of Canada and the United States this fall. On this tour, Cleese and Idle will be visiting the western part of North America with cities like Victoria, Vancouver (BC), Seattle, San Jose and San Francisco. Those who attend a show will see an evening of diverse entertainment according to their press release:
July 20th’s world-wide simulcast of Monty Python Live (Mostly) will no doubt get a video release sooner than later. With the show recorded and already broadcasted on television in the European Union, pumping out a video product will be easy.
That way, fans can look back at nearly 45 years of this comedy team’s cacophony of the fun and absurd. Technically, the years they were active amounted to 18. The stage show at London’s O2 arena featured the best of this comedy group’s skits from the television show Monty Python’s Flying Circus with more pomp, romp and craziness niched in, and for some folks hoping for a few surprises, the only shame is that no new material was offered.
At least a few of the skits are updated for the times. The Cheese Shop sketch gets an amusing postscript note at the tail end of The Dead Parrot sketch, and that at least shows some fun changes are in store. But for the other skit, either they are given a huge production in the style of Broadway in a way that only Eric Idle can appreciate or they are taken straight out of the tele from long ago.
E: Gen X’ers, geeks, Gen Y’ers and nerds should unite! Nearly 50 years of pop culture cinema is being offered at the Great Digital Film Festival, which is playing all across Canada in select Cineplex Odeon theatres (January 31 to February 6).
21 films will be playing throughout the day for one week, and if James and I do not collapse from exhaustion (there’s only so much my buddy’s old age can take), we may take in more than five films of this mega-extravangza. The one thing I find interesting is that while I know it was not intentional, this show takes place right before the Victoria Film Festival.
Hold on to your hats! The surviving members of Monty Python are reuniting and they are going to put on a show at the O2 Arena in London on July 1, 2014. The show will contain some of their greatest hits “with a modern, topical, Pythonesque twist” and feature some new material. But for a fan like me, I’m looking forward to wondering what kind of wonderful animation Terry Gilliam is going have play during this stage production. The big question is if I should plan a vacation to go see them, or hold out in hopes the Pythons will tour.