• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


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    Thursday, August 07, 2008

    US Reviews for 'Not the Messiah'

    It's well over a year since I posted anything on Eric Idle's Life of Brian based oratorio 'Not the Messiah'. Since then, the show has played in a few places in the US and so Peter Chattaway has linked to a couple of reviews.

    Stephen Brookes of the Washington Post called it "hysterically funny" predicting that Idle's "dead-on Dylan impersonation will go down in musical history" and gives a decent indication as to what it might actually sound like.
    Idle rewrote the film's key scenes as songs, which Du Prez then set to music with gleeful abandon - mixing spirituals, doo-wop, Scottish ballads, Sondheim-ish show tunes, John Philip Sousa and even a tip of the hat to Handel himself.
    Which ratchets up my interest in seeing this yet another notch. Then there's Richard S. Ginell of Variety also mentions the Bob Dylan impersonation and admires the piece's "satire on oratorio form". Ultimately, however, he he finds it all rather "inconsistent".
    ...There could have been more sustained hilarity, and the most memorable thing in the score remains the classic, chipper holdover from the film, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."
    I know that's intended to be a criticism, but I can't imagine, for even a moment, that it will deter devoted Pythonists from flocking to see it.

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