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THE BOYS ARE BACK

Monty Python members reunite for special presentation

Monty Python is back! Well, sort of. The five surviving members of Monty Python have reunited for a special, one-night-only event broadcast live from London’s O2 Arena.

John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin have teamed up one more (final?) time to present Monty Python Live (mostly), which will be broadcast to over 450 cinemas nationwide – including locally at the Greensboro Grande Stadium 16. This is the first time the surviving members have performed together live onstage in over 30 years, and is being touted as their last stage show together (probably).

This rollicking reunion sees the Pythons reprising some of their classic comedy bits (with a few modern twists), performing some of their favorite tunes, and incorporating some new material. When tickets for the O2 Arena shows first went on sale, they sold out in 43 seconds (!).

It’s been over 45 years since Monty Python took the comedy world by storm, first in the United Kingdom and then the United States, the talented troupe establishing itself as a paragon or irreverence, slapstick and satire in its internationally popular sketchcomedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” which aired from 1969-’74 (and continues to run in syndication).

The “Pythons,” as they were dubbed, included Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Their small-screen popularity transitioned into big-screen stardom with their films And Now for Something Completely Different (1971), the cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), the controversial Life of Brian (1979), the concert film Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982), and The Meaning of Life (1983).

Although the members have gone their separate ways, they have continued to make their mark in entertainment. Cleese starred in “Fawlty Towers” and the hit 1988 comedy A Fish Called Wanda (receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay), Chapman co-wrote and starred in The Odd Job (1978) and Yellowbeard (1983), Gilliam has directed such acclaimed films as Time Bandits (1981) and Brazil (1984), Idle co-created the faux British rock group The Rutles and starred opposite Robbie Coltrane in Nuns on the Run (1990), Jones directed Erik the Viking (1989) and The Wind in the Willows (1996), and Palin won a BAFTA Award for A Fish Called Wanda and has appeared in a number of popular travel specials on television (including “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Michael Palin’s Hemingway Adventure” and “Michael Palin’s New Europe”).

The death of Graham Chapman in 1990 would seem to have marked the end of Monty Python, yet the fan base has only grown over the years. A planned live tour in 1999 was scuttled at the last minute when Palin changed his mind about participating. The subsequent success of the stage comedy Spamalot (based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail) brought even more attention to Monty Python.

“What could be finer at the end of a long life in comedy than a chance to reunite with old pals and say goodbye to all our fans in one final, mad musical show?” Eric Idle said in an official statement. “We are very excited that not only do we get the chance to screw up lives in cinemas, too.”

For the legions of Monty Python fans the world over, Monty Python Live (mostly) is a cherished chance to once again “always look on the bright side of life.” !

WANNA go?

Monty Python Live (mostly) will be broadcast 2:30 pm Sunday (July 20) and rebroadcast 7:30 pm Wednesday (July 23) and Thursday (July 24) at the Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, 3205 Northline Ave. (in the Friendly Center), Greensboro.

Tickets are $18. For tickets or more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.

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