John Cleese has told fans he will not be cutting a famous scene from the Life of Brian stage show despite concerns from some of the actors that it could cause offence.
The Monty Python funnyman is working on a stage production of the troupe’s 1979 comedy film, The Life of Brian, which parodies the Messianic message of the New Testament.
It was reported last week that Cleese revealed some performers involved in a script readthrough in New York urged him to ditch one particular scene involving a small group of political activists called the People’s Front of Judea.
One member, Eric Idle’s character Stan, explains that he wants to be a woman called Loretta and to “have babies” – as it is “every man’s right to have babies if he wants them”.
When told by Cleese’s character Reg that he “can’t have babies”, Idle responds: “Don’t oppress me”. Cleese replies: “I’m not oppressing you Stan, you haven’t got a womb.”
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Angry fans flocked to social media to urge the 83-year-old not to bow to the pressure after hearing the topic being debated on Good Morning Britain.
They needn’t have worried, however, as Cleese took to Twitter to reassure people he has “no intention” of removing the scene from the script.
The Fawlty Towers star tweeted: “A few days ago I spoke to an audience outside London. I told them I was adapting the Life of Brian so that we could do it as a stage show (NOT a musical).
“I said that we’d had a table-reading of the latest draft in NYC a year ago and that all the actors – several of them Tony winners – had advised me strongly to cut the Loretta scene.
“I have, of course, no intention of doing so.”
During his one-man show earlier this month, Cleese revealed to his audience that some performers at the script reading told him: “We love the script, but you can’t do that stuff about Loretta nowadays.”
He said: “So here you have something there’s never been a complaint about in 40 years, that I’ve heard of, and now all of a sudden we can’t do it because it’ll offend people. What is one supposed to make of that?
“But I think there were a lot of things that were actually, in some strange way, predictive of what was actually going to happen later.”