I recently received a copy of "He's Not the Messiah: He's a Very Naughty Boy!" It's a full length 90 minute recording of the show held in celebration of Monty Python's Ruby (40th) Anniversary. I've always enjoyed the Python shows, especially the first three seasons and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Life of Brian is my second favourite of all the Python movies and as I missed any chance to see 'Spamalot' I was rather thrilled to see what the performance at the Royal Albert Hall last October had been like.
He's Not the Messiah follows on in the style of Spamalot, giving one of the classic Python films a musical treatment; mixing the original story with songs (mostly new) being performed with Eric Idle in the position of narrator and one of four singers (the others are Judith - Shannon Mercer, Mandy - Rosalind Plowright, Various, including Bigus Dickus - Christopher Purves and William Ferguson as Brian). Also appearing in this anniversary celebration are Python veterans Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland and Neil Innes. The music itself was played by the B.B.C. Symphony Orchestra and the B.B.C. Chorus with Andrew Haveron and conducted by John Du Prez.
The show is divided into five acts and contains a total of twenty seven songs; some completely original, others spoofing existing works or even reprising classic Python songs - of the original works it's "A Fair Day's Work", "Woe Woe Woe!", "I Want to be a Girl" and the Bob Dylan spoof "Individuals" that I enjoyed the most. But they all paled in comparison to the two classic Python songs sung in the piece.
The cast is likewise fantastic, each of the four lead singers are all exceptionally talented, but they're left a little in the shadow when compared to the performances put in by Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. Each of these men really gives it their all and shows just why Monty Python is still considered to be one of the great shows. But one of them rises above the rest, stealing every single moment away and dominating the stage with all of the best performances.
That man is Michael Palin, each of his various roles is played with a great deal of gusto, talent and spellbinding humour. Whether he's on as Mrs Betty Palin or the classic lisping Julius Caeser he's effortlessly electric and his final performance in the mighty show closing number as that immortal Python character Bevis is just fantastic.
He's Not the Messiah is simply a must watch for any Python connoisseur and a great musical in its own right. It's funny, fast and just a little bit magical.
He's Not the Messiah: He's a Very Naughty Boy was released in the USA on the 8th of June and in the UK on the 14th.