Not The Messiah (He's A Very Naughty Boy) - Blu-ray Review

'its melding of Pythonesque wit and original moments of musical brilliance are delightful'

Admit it: you'll watch anything by the Monty Python gang, right? In fact, if they did the 'bed spread and pillow set' thing, then you would be re-decorating your bedroom as we speak. No? Just us then.

The point is that with Python's loyal fanbase and lack of genuinely new material over the last ten years or so, they really could spit out anything now and it would still find a guaranteed audience. Which, on face value, could be exactly what they've done with the release of Not The Messiah (He's A Very Naughty Boy), a ninety minute recording of an opera-like oratorio performance by several of the Python gang, a full chorus and band from the Royal Albert Hall, based on their own seminal comedy Life Of Brian.

Luckily though, the show was written by Python member Eric Idle and composer John Du Prez and its melding of Pythonesque wit and original moments of musical brilliance are delightful and ensure the deliverance of both nostalgia and cracking new jokes in equal measure.

Two songs in particular (We Love Sheep and What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?) form part of the kind of medley that gets stuck in your head even before you've heard the full set and anyone watching this would be well-advised to sit in solitude for days afterwards, lest work colleagues question your mental health for muttering the 'What...Have-The-Romans' refrain under your breath.

Led by the irrepressible Idle, the vocal and musical talents here are also a joy to behold, despite a patchy start. William Ferguson, who for all intents and purposes plays Brian, although in true Python style, switches roles constantly, starts off looking as though he lacks the confidence required in a soloist but grows to be the best actor amongst the five leads. Guests from the Python stable appear throughout the performance but really, the weight of Not The Messiah is on Idle and his four more musically-inclined colleagues and happily, each does a wonderful job with the less-serious-than-usual material they're presented with.

Although distinctly un-cinematic, Not The Messiah appears ready made for the home cinema audience: boot up the Blu-ray and plug in some surround sound and the purchase price is worthwhile for the musical numbers alone. In what could have been a lightweight addition to the Python canon, Idle and Du Prez' composition of both these and the occasionally loose nods to Brian are delightful and serve to make the film an essential appendage to any respectable Python-aholic's collection.

Not The Messiah (He's A Very Naughty Boy) is available in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD from 14th June and is out in the US now.

Look further...

The live performance, which is featured on the Blu-ray was the oratorio's European premiere. The Telegraph reviews the performance (from October) here whilst the London Evening Standard takes a look at it here.

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