Just catching up from a couple of weekends ago here; Heather and I went to see a comedy troupe we’d never thought it likely we would see, being lucky enough to get tickets to Monty Python at the O2. The Pythons are, of course, comedy legends and heroes so the chance to see their (almost certainly) final performance was too much to pass up.
We arrived at the O2 Arena early enough to have plenty of time to browse the ubiquitous merchandise stores. T-shirts in hand we went in search of dinner, ending up in the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Basically I wished we hadn’t as their service is akin to a bar without the good bits—if you’re going to act like a restaurant I want a waiter! At least we were amused by the people dressed as Gumbys also having dinner there.
The doors to the arena opened slightly early, allowing plenty of time to peruse the bar and sweet selling vendors. Which left not much to do afterwards… Eventually though it was time to find our seats and settle down. As we did so the Spanish Inquisition sat behind us, which we didn’t expect. There were ice cream sellers coming round with trays, which drew the inevitable cries of “Albatross” and then the lights went down (quite abruptly) and came up on stage, music played, a tardis appeared out of Gilliam’s annimation and a “photo opportunity” came as the Pythons appeared. Soon we’re learning about llamas.
After that razzmatazz there’s a bit of a pause before we get into the wonderful Four Yorkshiremen (not even really a Python sketch!). Another pause to get to a sign of things to come, the Penis song, which introduces a chorus line that almost drowns any Python on stage.
There are some things that must be considered when watching the stage show. The Pythons are all older; it’s not television (which lead to frequent periods with the actual Pythons absent as changes went on behind scenes); Spamalot was successful (it’s influence is clear in that chorus line);
The pattern seems to be sketch–song–sketch–song (and a few too many times those sketches are archive footage playing on the big screen rather than live). Too many songs for my liking and almost playing too normal for Monty Python (penis cannons? Really? I just can’t picture them in the TV series unless something completely unexpected had spurted forth from them). Then again, much as I think the (over) abundance of song and dance routines was a little too Meaning of Life for me, how can you complain when you get the Lumberjack Song?
The interval comes with us laughing, of course. Would we be doing anything else when one of the greatest comedy troupes ever is entertaining us. After eventually making it to the toilet and bar and retaking seats the second act comes along with more dancing.
Soon there is a proper smile on my face though with the exploding penguin (and thoughts of how much my departed mam would have loved to have been here—probably laughing along with Chapman).
They’ve obviously been saving a bit for the second half. The cries of Albatross are for real this time, and Nudge Nudge Wink Wink gets a huge welcome. Blackmail is ill judged though, and really a vehicle for celebrities to get in on the act best forgotten. Shortly though its followed by something completely unexpected as the real Spanish Inquisition arrive. There’s more silliness (and Brain Cox appears determined to get everywhere) before the best bit.
The Pièce de résistance of the evening must be the set transforming itself as Spam dissolves into Dead Parrot into the Cheese Shop. And the audience dissolve into laughter at the familiar and loved. I’m not sure why Christmas In Heaven was felt necessary at the end because the real big finish is the only thing it could be. Remember, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!
Having pissed off as the Python’s final screen helpfully extolled us to we went in search of a drink. The main bars seemed to loud but we stumbled across Rodizio Rico which was being slowly invaded by people borrowing its bar to watch the end of the world cup football. So while Heather enjoyed cocktails we sat next to some friendly Dutch to watch them eventually overcome Costa Rica on penalties.
All that remained was to happily catch the last bus home