Wow! What a great time the Drakette and I had Saturday night! John Cleese and Eric Idle (if you’re not familiar with them, you might as well stop reading now and go elsewhere) closed their American tour to a packed house at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, and we were there.
What a great show, too! It began with Eric Idle’s voice offstage: “Ladies and gentlemen, would you please rise and give a spontaneous standing ovation for John Cleese and Eric Idle!” We did!
In the middle of the stage were two comfy chairs, which is where Cleese and Idle spent most of their time during the evening. From there they chatted at length, aided by a large screen behind them, about how they met and began their comedy careers at Cambridge.
At one point, they spoke about appearing regularly on David Frost’s “The Frost Report,” at which time they left their comfy chairs and went to a small set on stage where they reenacted a couple of sketches from that show. They also reenacted a sketch from the “At Last The 1948 Show” TV program. Afterwards, they talked about their meeting fellow Pythons Palin, Jones and Chapman, and other comic actors and writers, as well, including Marty Feldman.
From there they talked about Monty Python’s TV shows and movies, all the while showing clips and telling behind-the-scenes stories.
They also spoke about their after-Python careers.
And that’s how the show went. Two old friends reminiscing about days of yore. It was very entertaining. Cleese and Idle were charming and very funny. Idle did a few songs including “The Galaxy Song” and (of course) “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
I was puzzled by something, though. Despite several obvious opportunities, at no time did Cleese mention the very recent death of Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel on Cleese’s “Fawlty Towers” TV show. Incidentally, I recently read John Cleese’s autobiography, “So Anyway…” It’s a ripping good read, indeed.