Wednesday, August 06, 2008


One of the joys and perks of living in Los Angeles is the magical legendary and historic Hollywood Bowl. Even if you can't afford to attend the LA Philharmonic concerts, you can still enjoy their musicianship before the show. Rehearsals are not open to just a secret society; the public is welcome and I took advantage of this free look at the professionals at work and play. The run-through starts at about 9:30 am; get there early and you'll be able to snag one of the boxes in the shade. Otherwise, don't forget to bring a hat, an umbrella or sunscreen. Bring your binoculars but not your cameras. No photography or recording is allowed.

Driving up to the entrance of the bowl, you were already clued into the fun that would await inside. The marquee set the tone as it played up the cheekiness of the star by describing him as "Eric Idle --Baritone-ish".

The people who gave us Spamalot are also part of the brain trust behind Not The Messiah (He's a Naughty Boy) at the Bowl on August 2nd and 3rd. It's an oratorio with conductor John Du Prez at the helm along with Eric Idle as his comrade in merrymaking and naughtiness. The LA Philharmonic, Pacific Chorale, LA Scots Pipe Band and 4 fantastic vocal soloists were all outstanding. The oratorio is based on the Monty Python movie Life of Brian.

There was plenty of irreverent humor (much of it pointed at the current administration) that also gently teased the tenets of religion. I can't say first hand that I know how the movie was received back in 1979 when it was released, since I did not see the movie at the time. I admit sheepishly that I wasn't hip to the genius of Eric Idle and his fellow Pythoners. All I can say is that Not The Messiah is hilarious and not offensive or controversial to me. Perhaps its a sign of the times or else the medium and the music soften the blow of the barbs. Oh and speaking of sheep...a trio of singing, sheep puppets made a fleecy appearance.

Who would think to write an oratorio with bagpipes, sombreros, bleating sheep, plus a new hybrid musical instrument made by fusing a leaf blower and an organ, and a sing-along of Always Look On the Bright Side of Life??? ... it's not a surprise. Just leave it to an Idle mind.

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