The Toronto Star previews Not the Messiah

The Toronto Star previews Not the Messiah May 27, 2007

Eric Idle has been all over the Canadian media lately; he expressed his possibly-ironic outrage over Shrek the Third during a radio interview in Toronto, and I saw him being interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos on TV the other day. Now The Toronto Star has an item on Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy), the oratorio based on Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979; my comments) which premieres in Toronto this coming Friday:

The new show is going to be a work-in-progress until the lights dim at Roy Thomson Hall. And no one was going to let a member of the media see a copy of Idle’s script or Du Prez’s score. So we have to rely on Idle and Oundjian’s descriptions.

“John Du Prez describes it best,” says Idle. “He called it iPod Shuffle music. Our evening is sort of like that. It never settles in one style.”

Oundjian says there are musical numbers that mimic several different styles, including one song in which Idle does a Bob Dylan imitation. There is even a mock-Mozart duet. “It’s very sophisticated music.”

“Yah, the Mamas and the Papagenas,” quips Idle.

The story itself starts with the Life of Brian, “but as seen through the eyes of different characters,” Idle says. “It’s not just about getting laughs. Otherwise we could have just read the film script.”

“There are moments of great tenderness,” says Oundjian. He adds that you don’t have to know anything about classical music to appreciate the show. Idle says there’s no need to see the movie.

Hopefully, the music will be made available eventually for those of us who are nowhere near Toronto — via mp3, CD, even DVD.

MAY 28 UPDATE: Matt Page notes that there was another article on Idle and the oratorio in the Globe and Mail last week.

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