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' BY LINDA RAPKA, OVERTURE MANAGING EDITOR 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premiere at the Holly- comes full circle with their new Sousa's "The Liberty Bell (the Broadway, Welsh hymns, hip seem outdated and irrelevant, wood Bowl Aug. 1 and Aug. 2.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.