And now, for something completely different

Those guys the Python language was named after, was how I knew Monty Python as. And that was all I knew of them till Version One Dot Oh came along one evening to our office (yes, really) and staged a few hilarious Python sketches. I really did think VODO were fundo thespians, until I watched their Harvey, which can actually manage, on a scale of one to ten, a respectable minus two, if the rating process had been fixed, in VODO's favour (Well, actually it was passable - you know how it is, na - calling something crap can be delightfully hedonistic).

But I digress. Coming back to something completely different, I did have the good fortune of watching Evam's Always Look On The Bright Side of Life last July, and I loved it. Here was timepass at its best. And it started before we entered the auditorium (No, I'm not talking about the cute-looking ticket seller). As junta were loitering around in the corridor outside the audi, waiting for the show to start, a jolly chorus broke the buzz of conversation, and the troupe danced into the scene, singing the song. It's pretty difficult not to join in when whackily dressed overenthusiastic jesters are singing a catchy tune. And it got whackier as the evening progressed. The show was, as all Python shows are, a mishmash of sketches. Some of them were rip-roaring (Haggling, Mattress, Argument, Michelangelo), some amazing (Johann Gambolputty), some that bring out just a wide grin (Lion Tamer, Four Yorkshiremen, Job interview, Camel spotting), and a few outright lame (Hospital). The starting sequence with Evam personified was stylish. Leading in each sketch with projected multimedia was cool. But really the catchiest trick of the lot was the impeccable dances between the shows, in the pretext of rearranging the stage setting (or was it the other way round?). A bunch of girls dancing to I like to move it while shifting out furniture on stage for the next act is bound to bring in chuckles. And, I must say I really liked the friendly ambiance in the Alliance Fran├žaise as well: bedded seating on the floor, with the stage few metres away in a not-so-big audi. It probably made it all the easier to relax and get involved quickly. And we could see the wiggling of fingers, the twitch of eyebrows and the quivering of noses so much better.

The show led me to a whole new timepass activity: watching Monty Python sketches on youtube. A lot of them are outright hilarious, except those on the Holy Grail. One could see that there was very little script improvisation that Evam (or VODO) had had to do. But boy, are they demanding on the actors. The comic timing and spontaneity need to be spot on. On top of that, Evam has given it a kind of more slapsticky flavour with exaggrated movements and expressions. It does help in making it funny, and probably helps reach out to the kids in the audience. The little Indianizations here and there in the script by Evam (Haggling, Michelangelo) do tickle the ulna bigtime.

The Indianizations were probably more prominent in the sequel, in September, when Karthik seemed rather taken to The Boss. But the magic field was weaker this time. I still did have a great laugh mind you, just that they were fewer (Murder, Hungarian tobacconist, King Arthur) and farther apart than the first installment. There were some sketches that I thought the Evam renderings were not executed well enough of (Murder, Dirty fork), but I might have thought so just because I had seen the Flying Circus do it themselves. The multimedia and the dancers were as good as ever, but the venue (Chowdiah) was a tad too big to my liking.

So, the moral of the story is: Check out the Python videos on the net, and the next time Evam stages a Hyssssteria in your city, don't miss it.

PS: I might really have mixed up what sketch went into what show. I'm so confused that I can only tell which is from what only by how far I remember the stage to be when that was acted out.

2 comments:

  1. well well, didn't know you had a lil blog too. looks like u don't post all that too often though?

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  2. Thou art bang-on. I don't have the energy to document even the somewhat interesting bits, let alone the painfully detailed narrations in your blog.

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