It was good. Mostly.
There are a few transphobic jokes which haven’t aged well. I cringed at “you’re not even a proper woman.”
A lot of the songs got upgraded, which was simultaneously nice and kind of annoying. Eric Idle is very good at show-stopping numbers but the problem with them is inherent—they stop the show. There’s a damn good reason even Hollywood Bowl used them sparsely. We’re here for sketch comedy. And that aside, some of the musical numbers are already as good as they’re gonna get—Meaning of Life had more money to toss at “Every Sperm is Sacred” and “Christmas in Heaven” than this did, and it shows. (Only a couple of surprise cameos saves “The Universe Song” from being just as dire.)
All that said, “Isn’t It Awfully Nice To Have A Penis?” got a second verse about vaginas, and I swear you could hear a fucking pin drop in the theater during it. Totally worth it.
There was also a lot of Flying Circus footage getting reused, mostly the Gilliam animations but occasionally some of the film segments. I get that they needed to cover for set changes, but at the same time between that and the musical numbers (most of which relied on a chorus and involved one or two Pythons at most) I couldn’t help but feel it was less a reunion and more a clip show. This feeling, granted, goes away in the second act, as the lines between sketches start blurring and it becomes abundantly clear that they’re trying not just to recreate the sketches but the actual atmosphere of Flying Circus. How well this works is…debatable, frankly.
That said, the bits we got that actually involved the Pythons doing sketch comedy were well worth the price of admission. There were a couple of instances of corpsing, a few blotched lines, but honestly I didn’t mind, as it made it abundantly clear everyone up there was having fun. It was, admittedly, largely just the greatest hits with a few self-deprecating gags tossed in (good ones, mind, but still.) But who cares? The greatest hits are hits for a reason. And there are some new bits, and funny ones, too, but I’m not gonna spoil them.
So, yeah—if you like Python, and want to see them back together but also really really like the idea of a version of, I dunno, “Sit on My Face” with about fifty more choir singers than it really needs, this is the show for you.
(Also, if anyone thinks the “gone to see Dr. Chapman” line in “Dead Parrot” is the only homage Graham gets, well, you’re in for some fun surprises.)