- Miles Fielder
- 14 August 2009
This article is from 2009.
And now for something completely different
This superb celebration of the great surrealist-absurdist comedy troupe is so much more than a straightforward homage to Monty Python. Aptly named playwright Roy Smiles has constructed a very clever narrative that’s playfully self-referential, loaded with in-jokes, and, importantly, is absolutely hilarious.
The show’s very Pythonesque conceit focuses on recently deceased Graham Chapman attempting to enter Heaven but finding he has to justify his admittance to a jobsworth in a flat cap by telling the Pythons’ story. From the team’s beginnings – when Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones met as Oxbridge graduates – through TV’s Flying Circus (when animator Terry Gilliam came on board) and four film outings, to its end (when Chapman died in 1989), the tale is ingeniously told using re-jigged versions of the team’s famous sketches: Cheese Shop, Parrot, Argument, Nudge-Nudge, Inquisition, Lumberjack, etc. Similarly, the comic personas of the performers are used to further the story, so that, for example, notoriously irritating motor-mouth Idle fast-talks his way through great swathes of Python history in record time.
Playing the seven Pythons between them, the cast of four are spot on with their impersonations in a show that really captures the anarchic spirit of its subject.
Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 31 Aug 2009, 12.45pm, £10–£12.50 (£8–£10.50).