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Eric Idle and the L.A. Phil Revisit the Life of Brian, Who's Definitely Not the Messiah

It takes a very naughty boy to write about one, and who’s better equipped than Eric Idle? The irreverent British comedian and hallowed Monty Pythoner has been busy over the last few years with, among other delightfully rude ventures, two hit U.S. tours (Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python and The Greedy Bastard Tour) and the Tony-winning Spamalot (i.e., Monty Python and the Holy Grail set to music). And now we have Idle’s — and co-creator John Du Prez’s — latest addition to the annals of musical satire, Not the Messiah, which had its world premiere last year in Toronto and makes its West Coast debut this weekend at the Hollywood Bowl. The comedic oratorio is built on another Python vehicle, Life of Brian — that riotous slice of black humor about a simple first-century Judean, “Brian,” who’s mistaken for Jesus. The cast includes three soloists from the original production — soprano Shannon Mercer, mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwell and baritone Theodore Baerg — along with tenor William Ferguson in his Not the Messiah debut. At the helm is the never-idle Idle, hogging the stage as “narrator, singer, impersonator and comedian extraordinaire.” Du Prez conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pacific Chorale and the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band, and fireworks will guarantee that the production ends with a bang. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., Aug. 1-2, 8:30 p.m.; $10-$114. (323) 850-2000.

—Mary Beth Crain


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