Behind The Scenes: MONTY PYTHON, ONE DOWN, FIVE TO GO
After two weeks of intense rehearsals the surviving members of the Monty Python gang are ready to take to the stage for the World Premiere of Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down, Five to Go, on Tuesday 1st July. We are promised a "crazy party" and a "high-powered energetic show...especially for 70-year-old men".
On Monday, the London Palladium hosted the press conference for the Monty Python Live (mostly) show that will be filling London's O2 Arena for 10 nights. The event coincided with the re-release of the Python's classic 1989 album and collectors' edition today.
Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam teased the press with a sneak preview of the dress rehearsal, electric Python banter and the promise of special guests - including Stephen Hawking. The comedy geniuses reunite to perform together in the UK for the first time in over 40 years for what will undoubtedly be the biggest live event of 2014.
Sir Mick Jagger got the ball rolling to kickstart the Monty Python conference with an introductory video poking fun at the "wrinkly old men", joking: "We've seen it all before".
Cleese describes the production as a mixture between a theatrical show and a rock show, coining an entirely new genre, "throck".
Idle whets our appetite for the overdue reunion: "I have to say it's pretty filthy," telling us to expect some "very hot boys and girls on stage". But most importantly Palin guarantees that the production features the "good old material" such as the famous Dead Parrot Sketch.
The witty quintet reminisce of their classic sketches, but not without tribute to the passed Monty Python member Graham Chapman, laughing "he wouldn't have a clue what was going on [but] he's not totally absent, and he's certainly not forgotten."
The audience will also love the fresh, fun twist. "We've changed it up and put some surprises in," says Idle, promising a "colourful big experience."
Despite years of fame and success, the stars of the show were surprisingly modest, seeming shocked that they've "actually sold more tickets than Glastonbury". Cleese downplays his role in the production, stating "you go on, go off, change, put a silly hat on and go back on" and Palin, who was subject to the occasional 'travel' joke by his fellow Pythons, laughs: "we don't know what it's going to be like, we're probably going to be all over the place."
Forty years since the birth of the comedy sketch, the pensioner Pythons are having to prepare for the ten days of performances, Terry Jones, 72, has "not been drinking for a week" and Cleese, 74, has been sleeping some more. This is not to say that their passion or performance lacks momentum compared to their 1970's peak. Far from it. The electric atmosphere in the Palladium was owing to the cast's excitement and confidence to deliver a spectacular performance here in the UK where it all began.
They take to the stage for what they were adamant will be their last ever show on the 20th July, to celebrate 'The Last Night of the Pythons' the performance will be broadcast live into 570 UK cinemas, distributed by Picturehouse Entertainment.
Idle spoke of the importance of getting to "say goodbye publicly on one show," and Gilliam likened their last night to a funeral.
Although fans of the show should not be disheartened, Python enthusiasts can now join Monty Python's first ever fan club, the "Monty Python's Spam Club", at www.pythonspamclub.com.
The show is on at London's O2 Arena on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th July 2014.