Last week I went to see Monty Python Live, on one of their ten final ever dates. It was an exciting night for many reasons but I left feeling very let down.
The first problem was not the fault of Monty Python themselves but was to do with the venue. On arriving at the O2, instead of finding the incredible, expansive white domed tent I had been led to expect by the O2’s promotional material, I found instead a very underwhelming brick-built theatre tucked away on a back street in Soho. It was an extremely long walk from North Greenwich tube station and not at all well placed for river boat services.
On entering the venue the staff were very rude and insisted that my ticket was not valid. It was only by kicking up a considerable stink and threatening to call the police that I was finally admitted to the auditorium. Inside the seat numbers made no sense when compared to the seat number on my ticket so I had to choose my own seat.
The show itself was baffling, principally because it was very difficult to tell who was who. All five of the Monty Python performers were so heavily made-up and disguised in costumes that they were literally unrecognisable. This, and the absence of any material I had seen before or recognised, meant that the whole show was rather strange. The sketches appeared to flow together extremely closely in a single flow of consciousness to the point that it almost resembled a normal theatrical performance, and there was a consistent theme of a murder mystery running through it.
There were very few laughs, and when I attempted to whip the crowd up a bit by shouting “albatross!” or “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!” I was shushed by other audience members. At one point a steward threatened to eject me if I didn’t stop chanting “spam” through what appeared to be a particularly dull scene involving a police officer interviewing somebody.
After the show I inspected the merchandise, but without much hope, and found it all as abstract and obtuse as the show had been. All of it had the slogan “Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap” which I don’t remember being one of their better lines and which didn’t seem to have been shouted at any point during the show.
All in all, I would vote to give it a miss as I found it extremely disappointing.
I vote it three stars out of five.