Well I watched the last ever Monty Python show on TV almost live (had to pause it to take the dogs over the field) and was a bit underwhelmed.
To be fair, I think this was one of things where you just had to be there. I remember watching an old episode of Fawlty Towers, plus a couple of the John Cleese training videos at the Barbican with about 100 Python fanatics and the atmosphere and laughter was infectious. I’m sure people at the O2 had a great time, but I don’t think the stage show translated well to the TV, which is ironic considering that that it was really a live version of a TV show.
It did not help us at home that the performers were playing to the audience in the room, which is of course what they should be doing. You do sometimes see a film of a live show where the performers are playing to the cameras and the cameras are all over the stage obscuring the audience’s view and wonder why the audience don’t kick off more about paying through the nose to be treated as set dressing, so fair play to the Pythons for that.
To be even fairer, I think that I really wanted it to be the funniest thing ever in the world so it didn’t have to be terrible to be disappointing. It just had to not be the funniest thing in the world ever. I feel bad for not enjoying it more.But that was missing the point a bit. This wasn’t about them making us laugh (although there were plenty of places where they did) but about us all remembering how they used to make us laugh. Its a bit like going to see a band from years ago and enjoying it even if the singer’s voice is going a bit and the guitarist can’t slide across the stage on his knees anymore.
The pre-watersheed bleeping and censorship didn’t help much either. It is possibly the most intrusive bleeping I have ever heard, and even then they still let a stray ‘fuck’ get through.
Having said all that, I would have gladly swapped places with any of the 15,000 people in the audience.
It was good to see that Graham Chapman got a prominent posthumous part, and also good to see that they stuck with Carol Cleveland, who is looking pretty good for 72 and still able to live up to her old nickname. I also enjoyed the slight edge to the Blackmail sketch