Saturday, June 19, 2010

Not the Messiah -- A Brief Review

Not the MessiahWhat happens when The Life of Brian meets Handel's Messiah?  Well, you get Not the Messiah:  He's a Very Naughty Boy.  Now out on DVD and other formats, this is the Life of Brian,  put into musical/oratorio form.  It features Eric Idle, four soloists (who can both sing operatically and pull off the comedy), the BBC Orchestra directed for the night by John Du Prez, a massive choir, and several guests including Michael Pakin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam from Monte Python days.  It is all set on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  Comedy amidst grandeur, with a religious twist!

Now, if you watch this, you have to understand satire.  This is sacrilegious only if you allow it to be so.  Life of Brian tells the story of a young man, born in Bethlehem at about the same time as Jesus, and eventually gets confused with the Messiah at a time that the people were looking for Messiahs.  He tries to tell them he's not the Messiah.  His mother tells the crowd that Brian is actually a "very naughty boy."  Ultimately, like most Messiahs, he gets picked up by the Romans (and by the way, "What have the Romans Ever Done for us"), and gets taken off to be "crucified" -- another Roman gift to Judea.  Oh, and of course, at the end -- well there's a bit of a surprise at the end -- they all sing that Python favorite "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." 

It really is a wonderful piece, full of humor and reminders not to take ourselves too seriously.  Buy it, rent it, watch it, you won't be disappointed.   

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