5 December 2009 | MartinHafer
It could have been a lot better...
The version I saw of this show was much longer than the one mentioned here and in the other reviews. It was 106 minutes and it had quite a few problems that prevent it from being a must-see for fans of British comedy. Part of the problem might just be because in restoring the missing footage, a lot of uninteresting material (especially pre-show preparations) was included. So, instead of a straight filming of the live comedy show (which I'd hoped for), it's more like a documentary of the show. Another problem is no captions or closed captions on the DVD. British audiences may have less need of captioning (as they can probably understand the accents more readily) but this is not the only reason I would have loved captioning--it is because the sound quality is often quite poor and even a Brit might appreciate captions. Finally, the biggest problem is because it is a documentary and not a straight recording of the show, too often the comedy routines are abbreviated or cut in half (inserting irrelevant backstage banter and scenes into the middle of a funny skit--thus ruining the flow). The bottom line it that this is also a pretty lousy looking documentary--seeming random and slapped together.
So is it worth seeing despite these serious problems? Well, it depends on you. If you love British comedy and can accept the show with all its limitations, yes...watch it. There are some very funny skits (my favorite was the scene with the Pope and the painting of the Second to Last Supper). But, if you aren't that familiar with Monty Python, Peter Cooke (who's very good here), the Goodies and the rest, don't bother--you won't appreciate them as much because they simply aren't at their best.