Madcap and merry musical farce from Monty Python.jpg

Madcap and merry musical farce from Monty Python

EVIL MACHINES, the latest creative offering from former Monty Python funny man Terry Jones, is a surreal musical fantasy that has all the elements of pantomime with a little operetta thrown in for good measure.

As a children’s production, its colourful and inventive costumes, simple and clear script, and catchy songs make this two-hour production a sure-fire hit.

Although vastly different from the kind of bizarre and highly original comic sketches the Monty Python team came up with during the 1970s, it does, nevertheless, contain some characteristic off beat humour and that stream-of-consciousness style and fluidity which Python fans will recognise.

Terry Jones has succeeded in cleverly using what little room is available on the stage through visually impressive choreography, intelligent lighting and projection screens adding extra dimension and space to the musical.

It has to be said, however, that as a piece for adults it disappoints. While the story idea is original and inspirational, the dialogue that makes up the script is naïve, at times flawed and lacking in clever punches and witty sophistication.


The packed adult São Luiz Theatre audience, while politely encouraging, obviously struggled to find the performance amusing and the plot engaging. In fact, take away the clever costumes and the basic idea of personalising a wide rage of household appliances and kitchen implements from a troupe of Hoovers, a charming and girly whisk, a love-sick alarm clock, a cooking range and Biggles-style flying ace, the over simplistic story really only works for primary school kids.

Of course, Terry Jones has written numerous works for children over the years including Fantastic Stories and The Beast with a Thousand Teeth and this musical extravaganza has many of these elements incorporated in this musical, which, with a little touch of sophistication and some rewriting of the songs, would admirably adapt as a screenplay for a Disney-style children’s film.

Go to see it either with children, or thinking that this is for children, and you will be charmed by the way he personalises and characterises mundane household objects.

Without giving too much of the plot away, there’s a mad and nutty professor in a white coat and psychotic hair planning to do away with the human race and have machines take over the world.

The cast is Portuguese, their English interpretation is flawless and to be applauded, the originality of the costumes is pure science fiction and fantasy which no one in their right mind or not on drugs, except Terry Jones, could possibly make up.

The play is showing in Lisbon until February 3.

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