Now for something completely different... Monty Python returns

Now for something completely different... Monty Python returns
Comedy troupe Monty Python, (from left) Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese pose for a photograph during a media event in central London.

LONDON - The five surviving members of Britain's cult comedy troupe Monty Python announced Thursday they will re-unite for a one-off show in London on July 1 next year, three decades after they last performed together.

John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will perform some of their best-known sketches at the 20,000-capacity O2 Arena.

Asked why they were getting together now, Idle joked: "We're all trying to pay for Terry Jones's mortgage."

Cleese said "at first" the gig would be "a one and only" but refused to rule out further performances.

Idle said the Pythons had reformed after refusing to do so for so long because "we just wanted to see if we're still funny".

In a reference to the controversial dance routine by pop starlet Miley Cyrus, Idle joked that the Pythons - all now in their seventies - "will be twerking, absolutely".

Idle joked that the tickets will be priced around £80(S$161) - "it's only £300 pounds cheaper than the (Rolling) Stones", he said.

The news of the comeback has sparked feverish excitement in Britain, where lines from their 1970s television series and hit movies "The Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian" have become part of the national discourse.

Each of the surviving Pythons - the sixth, Graham Chapman, died in 1989 - has since had a successful career, and Cleese once famously said that it was "absolutely impossible" to get them all even in the same room.

It may be nostalgia or simply the lure of the potential profit from a reunion that brings them back together.

Idle's musical "Spamalot", a parody of the legend of King Arthur based on the 1975 film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", won awards at its first showing on Broadway in 2005 and still plays to packed theatres in London.

Cleese is also likely to have an eye on the bottom line - he named his 2011 one-man show 'The Alimony Tour' because he said he needed the money to pay for his most recent divorce.

Regardless of their intentions, the expectation is enormous for the comeback of a troupe described by one newspaper commentator as "the Beatles of comedy".

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