Apparently I am the lone Python fan here who was not only less than thrilled by this show, but almost bored silly.
My MP credentials had me ready for hilarity: I've seen Brian dozens of times since the week it came out and know it pretty much word for word; love the Pythons in general, have seen all the tv shows many times and all the movies many times; have all the records and most all the '70s books, even the rare ones that only Cleese's Mum ever read; love their sense of humor in general and consider them some of the funniest and most literate of all comedians. So, you know, I was well disposed to liking this.
But, at the risk of being a heretic like Brian, and attacked for not agreeing with the herd here ("Stone him! Stone him!!"), I found Not The Messiah to be Not The Greatest, and possibly Yes The Worst Of All (Ever-Increasing In Number) Tertiarily Semi-Pythonic, Sadly Ironic, Somewhat Related, Eric Idleberg-hatched Further Chances To Milk The Python Catalogue.
"Spamalot made a LOT of money! What might we do next along that line?"
"Nothing, Eric. Bugger off. Python is over. Let it go. Haven't you enough money yet?"
"But John, the others have all agreed to do guest spots!"
"That's wonderful, Eric, and I wish you well, but I'd rather not be part of something that's a little too close to the sort of non-stop merchandising we used to mock on the BBC 40 years ago. All the best, but please don't call me for the next project, either. And we all know there WILL be a next one, Eric. You have indeed found a goldmine here. You can market the old bits with new window dressing to the old fans who will do anything to relive the glory days, and that's wonderful, but really....those bits have been done. Move on. Write something completely new. Let it all rest in peace."
"OK, John , but you're really missing out on something special here. We've got a whole symphony and everything! It's been tarted up to a whole new level of tarted-uppedness! It's ironic, it's meta-ironic, it's us laughing at us laughing at them laughing at us laughing at them for still paying more and more to see the same thing over and over! It's brilliant, John!
We'll also be getting 80% of the gross from the wolf nipple chips sold at intermission!
Watched this with a fellow Python fanatic who was similarly non-enchanted if not disenchanted. We just didn't feel it. A few clever ideas, but it all felt forced and non-Pythonic, lacking the ensemble immediacy and genius writing that distinguished the Pythons. This just feels like another Broadway profit scheme. The singing is good, the symphony is good, but we just didn't laugh, were never surprised, and got none of that special Python feeling that the classics always deliver, time after time. The writing plus the group interplay is what made Python Python, and that was a team effort, even when they wrote in pairs or alone. This is just Idle without any contrasting input, and the group interplay is sorely absent. Idle on his own is simply not that hilarious any more, and he knows it, so he uses the mighty Python name to keep his career alive. Oops, sorry squire, I said it.
But each to their own. I would hope the average Python fan will accept that there are some among their number who are allowed to not worship every new, not-new-at-all Python project to dribble out of Eric's ledgerbook. Nudge, know what I mean?
In a nutshell, if this project sounds to you like the greatest idea since sliced Spam, perhaps for you it will be.
And if it sounds to you like another cash-in from Idle that lacks much if any of the old Python magic, perhaps for you it will be.
All in all, I prefer the Venezuelan beaver cheese.