July 24 2014 Latest news:
By Alan Davies
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Monty Python’s ‘naughty bits’ will go on show in Welwyn Garden City later this week.
As the Flying Circus prepares to take off once more with a string of dates at the O2 Arena in London, a play about what happened when America tried to turn Monty Python into something completely different is showing at a Welwyn Garden City theatre.
In December 1975, Monty Python’s Flying Circus was broadcast for the first time coast to coast in the US, but somebody cut out all the naughty bits.
From tomorrow (Friday), No Naughty Bits can be seen at the Barn, with Steve Thompson’s delightful comedy directed by his dad, Keith Thompson.
The play premiered to critical acclaim at the Hampstead Theatre in 2011, directed by its artistic director Ed Hall, son of theatrical giant Sir Peter Hall.
Telegraph critic Charles Spencer wrote: “It is superbly funny... the Pythons themselves were never as subtle and enchanting as this.”
Steve, a long-standing Barn member, trained on RADA’s playwriting course before going on to an award-winning career writing for stage and television.
His television work includes Doctor Who and Sherlock, for which he wrote the iconic episode when Sherlock jumped from the roof.
His first play, Damages, won the Meyer-Whitworth award.
Inspired by the true story, No Naughty Bits is Steve’s gloriously funny version of what happened when Python duo Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam took on the mighty ABC television network in a bid to get the ‘naughty bits’ reinstated.
They found themselves accidentally at the centre of a landmark court case, a punch-up between their own artistic integrity and ABC’s sanctimonious, money-conscious executives.
Steve Thompson said: “We know these people, but we don’t know this story, it’s showbiz gossip.”
There are some terrific pivotal roles in this play, particularly the lugubrious judge and the mild Michael Palin, who metamorphoses from lamb to lion under the pressure.
The clever casting of John Davies as the judge, Clive Weatherley as Michael Palin and Rob Graham as Terry Gilliam promises to do justice to this nimble-witted, funny play.
Director Keith Thompson, a long-time Barn member whose past credits include a memorable Noises Off, said: “I was delighted to be invited to direct this piece.
“My son Steve, the writer, learned so much of his craft at the Barn, as have many others.
“I’d like this production to be a real homage to the creativity and talent, on stage and off, that is consistently nurtured in this lovely old building... and a riotously funny experience.”
Happily, all the naughty bits are reinstated here.
The show, which comes with a content warning, runs until Saturday, June 21, with evening performances at 8pm.
Tickets cost £11 from the Barn box office on 01707 324300 or online at www.barntheatre.co.uk