After concluding work on the fourth and final series of Monty Python's Flying Circus, writer/actors Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam adapted many of the classic sketches for the stage. This album commences with a faux sincerely toned "Introduction" from Idle in the role of narrator, as he observes: "...Amongst the glittering audience here tonight I can see, uhm...oh...what's his name, uhh, the...the fellow with the glasses on the telly. And next to him is, uhm...oh, uh, the lady with the big knockers in the jam commercial." There are notable variations between the scripts used for the TV show and the dialogue incorporated during live performances. Additionally, this disc includes a few items that were presumably created for the staged show. Among them are former Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band member and part-time Python Neil Innes' "Idiot Song," "Secret Service," and the remarkable physical comedy involved in "Wrestling," which is countered by an equally silly color commentary from Cleese. Many of the better-known titles ("Communist Quiz," "Nudge, Nudge," "Lumberjack Song," "Pet Shop," "Albatross," and "Colonel") date back to some of the earliest episodes and have clearly become favorites of those in attendance. The core of their set remained intact when the Pythons brought the show stateside in 1976. However, as their other concert album, Live! At City Center (1976), demonstrates, there are subtle differences in delivery and pacing, as well as a few new links such as "Short Blues" and Innes' brilliant "Protest Song" from Rutland Times (1976), a conceptual collaboration with Idle that would ultimately yield the sublime Beatles parody and mockumentary All You Need Is Cash (1978). Live at Drury Lane is a great place for Python enthusiasts to start and revisit, as the presence of a live crowd progresses the humor to a new strata that is absent from the comparatively sterile TV versions.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer