"French put Python on Fringe menu"
by Vanessa Thorpe
published in The Observer/Guardian on 22 June 2003

also a special thanks to Roland Deleplace of ArtimediA
Sunday, 6 July 2003

Monty Python's Flying Circus had a celebrated obsession with French philosophers. For example, there was the discussion between three pepperpots in Episode 2 of the enduring television series. 'Oh yes, I like [the French]. I mean, they think well don't they? I mean, be fair - Pascal. Blaise Pascal. Jean-Paul Sartre. Yes, Voltaire. Ooh! - René Descartes.'

But now the French are to have their revenge. The first and only authorised stage version of the original sketches used in the television programme in the 1960s and 1970s is to come to the Edinburgh Festival this summer - and it will all be performed in French.

The five authors of the surreal comedy series - John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam - have each given their permission, along with the estate of the late Graham Chapman, for the French theatrical impresario Rémy Renoux to bring his unique adaptation of their scripts over to Britain this summer. The show, called simply Monty Python's Flying Circus, will feature many of the series' best-known sketches, such as The Ministry of Silly Walks, the Dead Parrot and the Lumberjack Song.

Edinburgh audiences will watch the performance, staged in one of the Fringe festival's main venues, aided by subtitles carrying the original English text. It is the first time that the famous scripts, written between 1969 and 1974, have been produced for theatre.

'It is strange, because our series has never been as popular in France as it has in other countries,' said Palin this weekend. 'The combination of the fact the sketches were going to be in French and that it was going to be done in Paris seemed slightly glamorous to us, and so we said yes,' said Palin, who has seen the show in France, as have some of his former Python colleagues.

'It is quite an experience,' recalled Palin. 'It was quite hard some of the time to work out which sketch was actually being done. It is a very odd selection they have chosen.'

However, after seeing the Paris show, Gilliam pronounced it 'fantastic'.

The show, Palin added, is not trying to be 'exactly like Python', and Renoux's cast have put a lot of their own humour in there too, including extra nudity.

'Sometimes they hit the mark exactly, sometimes they miss the mark, and sometimes they miss it so completely that it is quite extraordinary,' said Palin.

Monty Python's Flying Circus will feature nine performances from August 2 through August 10. Ticket prices range from £5.25 to £11.50.