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					S EPTEMBER 2008                                                                O VERTURE                                                                                       5

Eric Idle Still a Very Naughty Boy
Monty Python legend teams up again with John Du Prez
for first-ever comic oratorio 'Not the Messiah'


   For something indeed com-      singing sheep, kilted bagpiper      anti-Roman People's Front of
pletely different, Monty          and keyboard-operated leaf          Judea, but a mob of ancient
Python star Eric Idle and long-   blower.                             power-seeking Republicans.
time collaborator John Du            Idle and Du Prez began              The score consists mainly of
                                                                                                                                                              Photo by Linda Rapka
Prez presented the first-ever     their collaboration 30 years        new material composed by Du
comic oratorio, "Not the Mes-     ago with "Life of Brian." In the    Prez, though there were no           every musical genre under the      proves at times to be a bit
siah (He's a Very Naughty         wake of the success of the hit      shortage of Python references.       sun: doo-wop, gospel, Baroque,     naughty. And while some of
Boy)," which made its West        musical "Spamalot," the pair        The show commenced with              pop, country and western,          the pop culture references
Coast premiere at the Holly-      comes full circle with their new    Sousa's "The Liberty Bell (the       Broadway, Welsh hymns, hip         seem outdated and irrelevant,
wood Bowl Aug. 1 and Aug. 2.      madcap musical satire, which        familiar theme to "Monty             hop, Greek chorus and mari-        the timely allegorical warning
   Making an unlikely pair of     premiered in 2007 and has           Python's Flying Circus"), gave       achi, with Idle consistently       against the unrestrained tyran-
Handel's holy oratorio "Messi-    since traveled the globe.           a wink wink, nudge nudge to          throwing surprising tidbits into   ny of a Republican-run gov-
ah" and '70s cult Python film        "Not the Messiah" revives        the classic "Lumberjack Song"        the mix. "Hail to the Shoe!", a    ernment during one of the
"Life of Brian," the satire on    the story of Brian Cohen, a         and nodded to a line in the          spoof of Handel's "Hallelujah,"    most heated Presidential cam-
classic oratorio form features    Jewish boy born a few               team's first film "The Meaning       has Idle beatboxing like a rap     paigns in U.S. history makes
Idle as narrator and self-pro-    mangers down from Jesus             of Life" with the tune "O God        star, and "Individuals" takes an   up for it.
claimed "bariton-ish" vocalist    who is mistaken for the Messi-      You are So Big," ending              unexpected turn when he               The jumbling of religion,
joined onstage by Du Prez and     ah. The original spoof of the       appropriately with a fireworks       appears onstage in full-on Bob     politics and sex with comedy
soprano Shannon Mercer,           New Testament caused an             and bagpipes singalong to            Dylan regalia replete with         in "Not the Messiah" covers all
mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell,      uproar when it was released         "Life of Brian's" unforgettable      acoustic guitar, harmonica, and    the bases of contentious sub-
tenor William Ferguson and        for its lampooning of organ     -   closing number sung by Idle as       indiscernible mumbled speech.      ject matter in a sure attempt by
baritone Theodore Baerg, as       ized religion. "Not the Messi-      he lay hanging upon a crucifix,         With Brian and Judith's         Idle to get the sparks of contro-
well as the Los Angeles Phil-     ah" adds another layer with a       "Always Look on the Bright           duet simulating an orgasm          versy flying, as so often hap-
harmonic, Pacific Chorale, Los    jab against the current U.S.        Side of Life."                       gone Baroque and the reveal-       pened in his Python days –
Angeles Scots Pipe Band –         administration: this time              The rest of the score is a for-   ing of Brian's mum's not-so-       proving he's still quite a very
along with the occasional         around Brian joins not the          midable pastiche of practically      chaste past, "Not the Messiah"     naughty boy himself.

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