In 1969, Monty Python debuted on BBC with six members: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. In the 40 years since, they have released several films, including The Life of Brian, and The Quest for the Holy Grail, to name a few, not to mention albums, stage productions, and solo endeavors.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the dawn of that new age of comedy. To commemorate this (slightly holy) event, The Independent reports the remaining members of the troupe, sans Cleese, will reunite at the Royal Albert Hall in in the Knightsbridge area of the City of Westminster, London, on October 23rd. Cleese will be unable to attend due to previous engagements, and Graham Chapman passed away in 1989 of spinal cancer.
The four members are set to star in a musical adaptation of their 1979 hit The Life of Brian, now dubbed Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy). Slated for cameos in the show alongside the performing members are a regulars of the original TV series, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Carol Cleveland, and a former musical collaborator, Neil Innes. This is the second theatrical spinoff for Python; the first spinoff was the Broadway hit Spamalot, which was derived from Holy Grail and written by Eric Idle, who co-wrote Not the Messiah with composer John Du Prez. Idle describes Not the Messiah:
It ranges in reference from Handel, through a naughty Mozart duet, to the Festival of Nine Carols, Bob Dylan, and the classic finale Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.
This is the first appearance for the performing members of the troupe since 2002 (once again, sans Cleese) when they performed at the George Harrison memorial concert.
Set to be released in the U.S. (as a consolation commemoration for missing the live show) a six-part documentary called Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut) is on its way to being screened, with a DVD release to follow afterward.
For those those of you who can’t make it to London, or can’t afford a ticket (which can cost as much as £140.00 before they hit ebay), take some solace from the last phrase of Python’s famous song, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”:
Life’s a piece of s@#t
When you look at it
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see it’s all a show
Keep ’em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.