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04 Nov 2014

Home Video Review: Monty Python Fans Will Delight in 'One Down and Five to Go'

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Man … Terry Gilliam looks awfully frightening in drag these days. I mean, he was frightening in a dress back in the late 1960s when Monty Python’s Flying Circus debuted, but he’s at an all-new level of scary in this show.

You have to applaud the guy, and cohorts John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. They are all older than 70 now, but that didn’t stop them from doing one last round of shows at the O2 in London in July as a final gift to their fans; Monty Python Live (Mostly)—One Down and Five to Go is now available for home-viewing.

The title of the show refers to the fact they have lost one member of their troupe to death, Graham Chapman, who makes some appearances via film in this fun stage production. Age has slowed some of them a bit; a few lines get flubbed, and some of what used to be rapid-fire dialogue has become more conversational in speed. There’s a heavy reliance on lush musical numbers for classics like “Every Sperm Is Sacred” and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” There are also plenty of opportunities for the old geezers to take a break while films of classics like “Silly Olympics” and “The Fish Slapping Dance” play on the humongous big screen.

Thankfully, the show also contains plenty of sturdy re-enactments of classic sketches. Palin shines during “The Lumberjack Song” and “The Spanish Inquisition,” while Gilliam may have the most energy in the group (even if he does look the worst in a dress). Terry Jones and Cleese absolutely nail the “Crunchy Frog” routine. (“Our sales would plummet!”)

I wouldn’t recommend that a Python virgin start here, but if you are a longtime fan of their work, seeing the boys together for what could be one last time is a treat.

Monty Python Live (Mostly)—One Down and Five to Go is available for rent on iTunes ahead of its Blu-ray release on Nov. 11.

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