To misquote one of Monty Python’s most famous lines ‘they’re not the Messiah, they’re just very naughty boys’.

Last night (Tuesday) saw the legendary comedy troupe take to the stage at Greenwich’s O2 Arena to prove that although comedy has moved on in the past 40 years they aren’t dead yet (well OK one of them is and it isn’t the parrot, he’s just pining for the fjords!).

Tickets for the first night of the reunion to top all reunions sold out in just 43 seconds.

Such has the demand been to see Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam in the flesh before they all join former colleague Graham Chapman in the comedy afterlife that a further nine shows will take place starting tonight (Wednesday).

Reviews for the opening night have been as mixed as the original reaction back in the 60s when the anarchic sextet first crashed onto TV screens with sketches which didn’t make much sense then and haven’t really become any easier to fathom over the decades.

Fans took their seats clearly eager to see how classics such as Dead Parrott, Ministry of Silly Walks, Upper Class Twit of the Year, Fish Slapping Dance, Spam, Nudge Nudge, The Lumberjack Song and the dreaded Spanish Inquisition, would hold up in the 21st Century while being performed by (to quote Mick Jagger) ‘A bunch of wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth and make a load of money.’

 

Mark Jefferies in The Mirror is full of praise for the show saying ‘The first live show saw the five Pythons come back with a bang and it’s like the comedy equivalent of The Beatles’ before ending with ‘Its not something completely different, but that’s exactly why fans will love it.”

See the Mirror's website for a gallery of pictures taken from the opening night.

Dominic Cavdendish in the Telegraph headlined his review ‘Monty Python flying as the famous five prove more golden than olden’ but still went on to aim jibes at the fact Cleese was hoarse, Jones needed cue cards to remember the lines, and at times all five looked lost amid the spectacular.

He said: “Yet you don’t need to be a die-hard fan to take the view that none of that really mattered. The Pythons came, they doddered, but they conquered. What they lack in sprightliness is compensated for by the choreographed frolics of a troupe of 20 performers young enough to be their grandchildren.”

 

Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian called Python ‘comedy’s greatest supergroup, in fact its only supergroup’ - a claim fans of legends like The Goons and the Crazy Gang might take issue with.

He said: “The sketches are old – of course they are, and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy hearing them again just a bit, though the campy jokes about men with silly effeminate voices and ladies’ underwear have dated.

“As a fan, I have to admit to a twinge of awe and even an uncool microsecond of lachrymose emotion at seeing them together again.

“Monty Python Live (mostly) isn’t bad: it gives the crowd exactly what they want but relies pretty heavily on the fan love and makes a hefty withdrawal from the reputation bank.”

A far more negative review comes courtesy of John Walsh in the Independent who sub-headed his opinion ‘This is a desperately lazy production, resting on its laurels’ - not a great start - he goes on to express distaste at the over use of genital-based humour before stating “In between there’s a new sketch in which Michelangelo meets the Pope, which reveals that whoever wrote it doesn’t know the difference between apostles and disciples – and the fact that such pedantry occurred to me shows how hilarious I was finding it.”

Although this sketch never appeared on the TV show, the premise is not actually a new one as the group performed a version of it to great effect during their Live at the Hollywood Bowl show way back in 1982.

The script for the original sketch can be viewed here - and rather appropriately seems to be tailor made for the Python’s as they are today as the site occasionally generates adverts for how to avoid running out of money during retirement - stage a 10 night reunion show and charge premium rate for tickets didn't appear to be one of the suggested plans though!

To celebrate the fact many of the sketches for which Python became famous were filmed in and around the local area, getwestlondon yesterday carried a poll asking our readers to vote on their favourite.

Currently Ministry of Silly Walks (filmed in Thorpebank Road, Shepherds Bush) leads the way with 39%.

If you haven’t already, check out our previous story and vote for which of the five we selected is best.