I told you these events would sell out quickly. John’s appearance in Victoria is sold out. There are still tickets for Nov. 8 in Toronto, and Nov. 14 in Vancouver, but you’d best act quickly! And tickets include a signed copy of #Soanyway …
When I posted my previous entry, I didn’t have much information about John’s three scheduled appearances next month in Canada. I do now, and in fact, strongly suggest that you get tickets now (that goes for the US events as well)–they’re going fast and in some cases are sold out!
So here’s the deal:
TORONTO – Interview with Ian Brown, writer for the Globe and Mail
Saturday, November 8th, 7:30 PM
John Bassett Theatre
255 Front Street, Toronto, ON
VANCOUVER – Interview with Stephen Quinn from CBC Radio’s On the Coast
Friday, November 14th at 7:30 PM
The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts
777 Homer St., Vancouver, BC V6B 2W1
VICTORIA – Interview with Jo-Ann Roberts, from CBC Radio’s All Points West
Saturday, November 15th at 7:30 PM
University Centre, Victoria V8W 3P2
Most of the audience for John Cleese: Last Time to See Me Before I Die will be familiar with at least some of his work, usually Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, or A Fish Called Wanda. And they will unquestionably get their moneys’ worth with stories and film clips featuring the best-loved bits and co-stars. But just as enjoyable are the stories and clips of lesser-known but just as hilarious shows and friends. Who knew that his mother Muriel would be discussed as much as Monty Python? And get just as many laughs?
John settles into a comfy chair as he discusses both his parents, growing up in Weston-super-Mare, which was inexplicably bombed during World War II, how he got into show business, touring New Zealand, beginning work at the BBC, and early friends and idols like Marty Feldman, David Frost, and Peter Sellers. He hits on all of the successes that one would expect, but also explains his love of black comedy (one of the few things he had in common with his mother). He gleefully relates several practical jokes played on Michael Palin (including one that backfires deliciously), and tries to explain the late Graham Chapman, his friend and writing partner. The show moves along at a rapid pace, and he packs in plenty of stories, seasoning it with just the right amount of photos and film clips.
I suppose a disclaimer is due here: I’ve known and been friends with John since the ’70s, so I am a bit prejudiced. However, after seeing it several times, I was delighted to see the virtually universal enthusiastic audience reaction.
At risk of being labelled a sycophantic fanboy (which, when dealing with John and the Pythons, is a badge I wear with honor), he deserves the adulation; he works hard to ensure that his performance is word-perfect, going into the theatre early to hone phrases and check photos and cues. The result speaks for itself.
After wrapping up the Canadian Tour, John Cleese: Last Time to See Me Before I Die will be touring Australia early in 2014. I’ll post more about it when it gets closer to the time.
Oh, and how enjoyable? Very enjoyable indeed.
When I was working for John Cleese, I often urged him to put together a one-man show. He agreed it was a good idea, but never seemed to have the time to organize it. Eventually, faced with the need to pay out an atrocious amount of alimony for too many years, he found the time, and his fans and his ex-wife are the better for it. He’s performed it in various places, trying it out in New Zealand (where, as he put it, if it was a disaster, no one would likely ever hear about it)–and playing it in Scandinavia, Australia, even a few California dates. Now it’s Canada’s turn, where the Halifaxians and Torontons have seen it, and he’s working his way west even as I write this. The bad news: most shows are already sold out, so if you’re in that Great Northern neck of the woods and want to see it, you’d better move fast. But if you’re in Edmonton with nothing to do, try this, but do it quickly. And if you have a great deal to do, but can still get to Edmonton next week, cancel your plans and go see the show anyway. As of this writing, it looks like there are a few tickets remaining for one of the October 5th shows, which would be a great way to celebrate Monty Python’s 44th anniversary.
Why am I writing about it now? Because I finally, at long last, had a chance to see the show. It exceeded my expectations, which were pretty high to begin with. I’ll write a short, completely biased review soon, along with a backstage look at the show.