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Monty Python Live At The Hollywood Bowl

Reviewed By Rob Gonsalves
Posted 04/05/07 14:09:42

"Python in concert. Oh, I'm sorry, you needed more?"
5 stars (Awesome)

Monty Python in their element — performing old 'Flying Circus' sketches in front of a packed crowd that roars appreciatively whenever a familiar favorite (like “Crunchy Frog” or “Dead Parrot”) gets started.

The event was shot on video and then transferred to film, and it looks it; the direction is sometimes spotty, and longtime Python associate Neil Innes sings two highly expendable songs (with Carol Cleveland doing some manic, unfunny dancing during one of them).

But this is probably the best greatest-hits collection of Python routines, and a lot of the bits (like “Nudge Nudge”) have a live electricity they lack on the old Flying Circus episodes. The real stand-out is Eric Idle, who sprints through the audience during “Travel Agent” and delivers an endless monologue with impeccable timing while trying to elude John Cleese.

Purists may notice that the boys sometimes consciously play to the American college-age crowd by making the routines cruder, throwing in language that wouldn’t have been allowed on the BBC. But are you likely to see the full six-member troupe live in concert any time soon? No? Then bugger off and rent the movie.

Filmed during four performances (September 26-29, 1980) and released with little fanfare, it soon found a home (along with 'The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball') on pay cable.

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