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Monty Python reunion show sells out in 43.5 seconds

2013-11-26 08:45
monty python,john cleese
London - Monty Python added another four dates to their "one-off" reunion show on Monday after 14 500 tickets to their first London live performance sold out in 43.5 seconds.

John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin announced their surprise return to the stage last week, sparking huge excitement among fans of the comedians who have not performed together since 1980.

The cult British troupe said they only planned to do one show at the O2 Arena in London on 1 July, and Idle said the intention was "to see if we can fill it".

But the promoters were clearly prepared for the huge demand that saw 65 tickets offered on re-sale websites for £1 600 (R26 000) within 15 minutes of the sale opening.

"The first show sold out in 43.5 seconds. Four further shows immediately went on sale: 2-5 July," a spokesperson for Monty Python told AFP.

'Only 300 cheaper than the Stones'

Despite the extra dates, all at the O2, many fans were left disappointed and blamed touts for bulk buying tickets.

"Ridiculous... Real Python fans are missing out here," wrote Helen Stewart on one forum, although others expressed the hope that more dates may still be added.

The Pythons will perform the most famous sketches from their films and cult television show Monty Python's Flying Circus - although advancing age has imposed some limits on what they will be able to do.

Cleese, 74, admitted that a repeat of his Ministry of Silly Walks sketch will be "impossible" as he now has an artificial hip and artificial knee.

The tickets were priced between 27.50 and 95 - "only 300 cheaper than the Stones", Idle quipped - and the shows are likely to make the Pythons a lot of money.

At the press conference last week Idle joked that they were raising money for Jones' mortgage, while Cleese had to pay out millions of pounds in his most recent divorce.

'I think I've forgotten that'

The troupe became famous with the irreverent and surreal Flying Circus show, which ran from 1969 to 1974 and sold to almost 100 countries.

They also made several films including 1975's Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a parody of the legend of King Arthur, and Monty Python's Life of Brian in 1979, the tale of a young man mistaken for Jesus which riled religious groups.

The reunion show is called "one down, five to go" - a reference to sixth member Graham Chapman, who died of cancer in 1989 at the age of 48.

Chapman took part in the Pythons' last live performance in the United States in 1980 and their final film, The Meaning of Life, in 1983. The surviving members were most recently interviewed together at the Aspen Comedy Festival in 2009.

Last week the five would not be drawn on whether they would consider taking their reunion tour outside Britain.

They joked about touring Europe on a camping holiday, but asked if they would go to Australia, Cleese said: "The only problem with Australia is that there are planets closer than that."

There will be some new material, but also be a lot of the old favourites.

"The main danger we have is that the audience know the scripts better than we do," Cleese said.

One of their hit sketches was Dead Parrot, where Cleese tries to return a Norwegian Blue to a pet shop because it is dead. The owner, Palin, responds: "He's not dead, he's resting!"

"I suppose we'll do some version of the parrot -- Mike?" Cleese told the press conference, turning to Palin, who replied: "The parrot? I think I've forgotten that."

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