Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Editor's Note: 11/22

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Editor's Note: 11/22

Article excerpt

What do the Knights say? Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG. Zoom-Boing. Z' nourrwringmm.

Norway has survived a long history with absurdism, dating at least back to the Norwegian Blue and its terrible pining for the fjords, but Ylvis' 15 minutes are up, and long live the Python reunion.

All five surviving members of Monty Python's Flying Circus -- Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam (the lone American), John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin -- have apparently buried differences, grudges and co-conspirator Graham Chapman, and agreed to perform in an upcoming stage show, its first in decades.

I'd love it if the sort-of Replacements -- Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, minus ailing Slim Dunlap, disinterested Chris Mars and dead Bob Stinson -- stretched out its three-show reunion, and it'd be swell for Paul to rock on with Ringo one time, but I saw the Placemats a few times in its heyday, such as it was, and let's face it, a Beatles reunion sans John and George is merely a eulogy.

Of course, Python won't be the same without Chapman, one of the first entertainers bold enough to come out publicly as gay, back in Ye Olde 1967, but more importantly a writer and performer of some of the finest, the strangest of Python. Even as he suffered through booze addiction and the DTs, Chapman wrote and took the lead from a pack of leaders, including roles as Brian in "Life of Brian" and King Arthur in "Holy Grail."

The much-misquoted dead-parrot sketch will no doubt be part of the reunion. It's like the Pythons' "Free Bird": Even non-fans know it. If the actors should falter, as Cleese did once, laughing, when Palin ad-libbed a line about the slug -- "It mutters a bit" -- crowd members yell out the next line. Fans lip-synched along, at the rare live shows.

When you see Ringo or Paul, you will hear "Photograph" and "I Saw Her Standing There," because despite the fierce, feisty, often surreal Python style, a part of such an undertaking has to be nostalgia, a soothing full-hour massage that hits all the right spots. But I'd like to hear what's new, more like a Springsteen concert. He doesn't -- or can't -- leave out "Born to Run" or radio hits, but you'll not see a Bruce show that doesn't scorch on current, living stuff. …

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