Monty Python Live (Mostly) 2014
Monty Python Live in 2014. Perhaps the least expected come back of all time, but almost certainly one of the most popular.
The story behind the reunion began in 2013, when the Pythons lost a legal case to Mark Forstater, the producer of their second film, Holy Grail.
The case had centred around royalties for Spamalot, the musical adaptation of the film Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Having lost their case they found themselves oweing a combined £800,000 in legal fees and back royalties to Forstater. On top of this John Cleese had just gone through a bitter divorce the previous year and himself was facing a hefty matimonial settlement.
It was decided to re-form for a one off show at the O2 arena in London. The show sold out in 45 seconds of release. It was therefore decided to extend the run to ten shows. Naturally these were also a sell out.
Production of the show was put in the hands of Eric Idle, owing to his theatrical experience with the creation of Spamalot (and because his schedule was free).
He decided the show should feature an extensive assembly of the best-known Python sketches; in order to allow for ostume changes, the sketches would be linked by short video clips and elaborate routines of the troupe’s songs. The latter would be performed by a full chorus line, choreographed by Arlene Phillips. The music was to be arranged and conducted by Idle’s long-time collaborator, John Du Prez.
The shows were performed in two blocks 1st–5th and 15th–20th July, 2014. The final performance was also broadcast on TV by UKTV GOLD and in cinemas around the world by by Fathom Events through a Dish Network satellite link.
For the first time in 34 years all five surviving Pythons performed on stage together. Performing their best known sketches with archive footage of Graham Chapman interspersed throughout the show.
Some of the sketches were updated to include contemporary references. Carol Cleveland, who appeared in many of the original TV episodes, assisted by playing additional characters, as did newcomer Samuel Holmes, who was given several lead roles, some of which were originally played by Chapman.
See cast listing for other special guests
Graham Chapman (archive footage)
Special guests (in the ‘Blackmail’ sketch)
Stephen Fry – on the 1 July show
Lee Mack – on the 2 July show
Bill Bailey – on the 3 July show
Noel Fielding – on the 4 July show
Matt Lucas – on the 5 July show
Warwick Davis – on the 15 July show
Simon Pegg – on the 16 July show
David Walliams – on the 18 July show
Eddie Izzard – on the 19 July show (also appearing as a celebrity ‘Bruce’ on 20 July)
Mike Myers – on the 20 July show
Professor Brian Cox
Professor Stephen Hawking (In the 20th July show, Hawking is seen in the audience following his recorded appearance.)
Channel (20th July show only): UKTV GOLD
Written and Conceived By:
Premiere: 1st July 2014
Final Show, TV and International Cinema Broadcast: 20th July 2014