Monty Python's 'DYING circus'
2 July 2014 - Monty Python Live (mostly) opened a ten-night run in London last night.
Three decades since they last appeared on stage, the comedians were back.
John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones appeared.
They performed old comedy favourites including the dead parrot sketch.
But public reaction to the money-raising reunion was mixed to say the least.
One Twitter user wrote: 'Monty Python looked tired, pretty rubbish'.
Another said: 'Bunch of skint old men trying to make a few quid. 'dodgy tribute band'.
It was three decades since they last appeared on stage together, and tickets cost upwards of £75 a head, but the Monty Python crew had no trouble packing the O2 with fans last night.
Monty Python Live (mostly) - so named because one of the original group, Graham Chapman, died 25 years ago - was organised, as the septuagenarian comedians happily admitted, to 'make a lot of money' for them.
John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones performed most of the old favourites, from the Four Yorkshiremen sketch to a singalong of Always Looks On The Bright Side, and many of the diehard fans turned up in Python fancy dress.
Critics - many of whom definitely remembered the jokes from the first time around - mostly raved about it, but many fans took to Twitter to complain about what one called 'Monty Python's Dying Circus'.
One, Luke Skipper, wrote: 'OK, going to say it, Monty Python looked tired, pretty rubbish, with super awkward fans.'
Twitter user Wayne wrote: 'I don't care what people think BUT Monty Python are s****. Not funny. It's just a bunch of skint old men trying to make a few quid.
And an Australian writer said the ageing comedians had 'made a hefty withdrawal from their reputation bank', adding 'There were, predictably, dead parrots.'
Mick Jagger has called the surviving Pythons 'a bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth', while The Mail's Quentin Letts (see below for full review) went even further, saying: 'Five tuxedo'd old geezers, necks like tortoises, creaked and croaked through a patchy night of their greatest hits.
'Once they were the sharpest thing in satire. Last night, quite often, they looked and sounded like a dodgy tribute band.'
He described Cleese as 'all implausible teeth and pot belly', while Gilliam, who was 'wearing one of those irritating ponytails old groovers of a certain era like to sport, 'seemed barely gripped by proceedings.'
The Mirror said the show's appeal lay in the fact that there was nothing new.
'It's not something completely different but that's exactly why fans will love it,' said Mark Jeffries, whose only criticism was not seeing enough of the Pythons onstage compared with the dancers.
The Express understood that the comedians, who range in age from 74 (Cleese) to 71 (Idle and Palin), needed time to 'recover from their exertions'.
'It's a tall order for a bunch of old men and I think we can cut them some slack,' writes Neil Norman, who said they have 'embedded themselves in the cultural memory'.
But the i lamented the lack of new material, calling the show 'a lazy production' that relied on television footage and 'the whooping adulation of an audience who know all the words'.
Reviewer John Walsh admitted that some of the old sketches were 'still very funny' but said it became a little tiresome.
And comedian Russell Kane conceded it was a show for existing fans, rather than new converts. Tweeting after the show he wrote: 'Witnessed legends in action.'