Pythonesque, Udderbelly's Pasture
Tuesday 25 August 2009
And now for something if not completely different, then at least reassuringly familiar.
Pythonesque, "a series of inter-related sketches in the style of Monty Python", is a loving homage to the six men who changed the face of British comedy long before most performers at this year's Fringe were even born.
Roy Smiles (who also wrote the West End hit tribute to the Goons, Ying Tong) has crafted a witty little piece, telling the story of the Monty Python gang from its formation to its dissolution, with some well-loved Python jokes along the way.
So we see John Cleese's (Mark Burrell, a beanpole in pinstripes and platform shoes) first audition where his set-piece is, what else, a silly walk, while, upon arriving at the pearly gates, Graham Chapman (urbane Chris Polick) is subjected to a Spanish Inquisition-style grilling.
Alongside these old friends, Smiles's script brings in other illuminating ideas – the inter-comedian rivalry, the Pythons' attitude to women and the crazed loyalty of the fans.
The cast all have fine talents for mimicry, not least James Lance who plays a sleazily indignant Eric Idle, a laconic Terry Gilliam and a superior David Frost – occasionally more than one of them at once – to hilarious effect.
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