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Not The Messiah – reviews and audience feedback

Not The Messiah opened last night, at the start of it’s 30-date run at Buxton Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe.

We have our first review from Buxton Fringe Review, to add to our two reviews from previews in 2011. So we’re going to use this blog post to collate all the reviews as they come in over the next six weeks.

We’d also encourage you to add your own thoughts on the show in comments below. If you’ve seen the show, we’d all really like to know what you thought.

Don’t forget, if you want to know more about our work, you can join the mailing list from the Home page.



You don’t have to be a fan of Monty Python to enjoy this absolutely brilliant and moving play about the tumultuous life of late group member Graham Chapman. The script and performance managed to be both laugh-out-loud funny and utterly captivating, even bringing a tear to my eye.”

An incredible show.”


Three Weeks, 10/08/2013


Nothing short of magnificent. Empathetic, playful and slightly headstrong as Chapman, [Telfer] can manipulate your emotions between joy and sadness in the space of a comma.”

“Chapman’s death is a tear-jerker; his life complex, but ultimately joyous. The same can be said of this remarkable play, which will surely have a life beyond Edinburgh..”


Chortle, 10/08/2013


The writing is a pure dream. Jokes come fast and furious, delighting in the absurd wit and wordplay that raised Python to the levels of greatness.”

Telfer is stunning. He is versatile, charming and unimaginably composed. He has all the sparkling wit of Chapman himself, but is also equally as comfortable with the quieter, tortured and more tragic side of his existence”

One cannot imagine a better one man show done on the subject. Brilliant..”


Broadway Baby, 14/08/2013


“Portrayed beautifully by the superbly talented George Telfer, a charming and charismatic performer who builds up an incredible rapport with the audience.”

I cannot recommend this show enough, it was the highlight of the festival for me and despite the great atmosphere that came from being in such an intimate venue, I can only hope this show is offered a West End transfer onto a bigger stage.”


The Gay UK, 10/08/2013


“Definitely a must see at this year’s festival.”

“Telfer’s acting skill is outstanding.”

“The writers have really hit the nail on the head with the accessibility of the show… The powerful storytelling can enthral even a Python novice.”


Student Review, 23/08/2013


This is a priceless piece of solo theatre, a direct story conversation with the audience, unfolding a life, revealing Graham Chapman, the queen of the Pythons.”

“This is a surgically accurate stage performance. Carrying Chapman, Python and the birth of public homosexuality with such competent, beautifully paced and modulated authenticity – as well as telling us a story, a history, an autobiography – this is an impressive theatrical achievement from Telfer.”

“We are drawn in and our interest never flags for a moment. Striking the balance between humour and the more serious, touching and tragic parts of the story, Crawshaw has got it all just right. Very highly recommended.”


Fringe Review, 12/08/2013


A clever and captivating performance, never stooping to parody or exaggerated physicality. Telfer simply embodies the persona of Chapman with an ease and grace.”

“It’s a wonderful journey, peppered with witty nods to Chapman’s characters and to many well-known jokes from the Python sketches, often used to clever bittersweet effect. Ultimately it’s a very funny, very sad story told in heart wrenching detail.”

Sensitively and brilliantly told. A gem.”


British Theatre Guide, 12/08/2013

“George Telfer embodies the spirit of Graham Chapman completely.”

“At times touching and funny, this play conjures up the essence of the Monty Python team.”

“Telfer flits between some of the Python’s best known characters, including Arthur King of the Britons and the policeman, as well as throwing in admirable impersonations of Chapman’s colleagues and friends.”


Edinburgh Spotlight, 12/08/2013


A master class in the art of the one man show

“This ultimately tragic tale is very very funny”

Go and see Not The Messiah. You’ll laugh like a drain, wipe away a manly tear and leave safe in the knowledge that the social mores that constrain and constrict our lives are really not all that important.”

Buxton Fringe Review, 11/07/2013


Audience Feedback

“This was without a doubt the highlight of the Fringe for us. We laughed and we cried – an amazing one man performance – he had us spellbound. Absolutely brilliant.”

Nigel Hough

“I’ve seen possibly 150+ shows at Edinburgh over the last few years and I feel this may well be the best thing I’ve ever seen. The script was perfect. Thank you all. It’s made my Fringe.”

Philip Hutchinson

“Brilliant script and acting-would highly recommend this. Five stars.”

Anne Keeler

“Put simply, I’d encourage everyone to go and see George Telfer’s beautiful performance as the complex, exasperating, loveable Chapman. At the end of the hour, by which time I felt I’d actually met the “man himself”, I was sobbing. Nor was I the only one! I hope this wonderful piece of Theatre will enjoy a long life apres-Fringe.”

Mark Ponsford

Had to take a moment after @ThreesCompany Not The Messiah, as a fan I have never been so absorbed. A perfect love letter to Graham Chapman.”


“Loved the show and hope it’s done well.”

@PaulZenon (Yes, that Paul Zenon…)

“We booked this show shortly after the program was released & the gamble paid off brilliantly. An interesting, touching, entertaining & very funny show. Wonderfully written & wonderfully performed. The show we saw was sold out & deservedly so.”

Kenny Mackin

“Laugh out loud in places, poignant in others… I am full of praise for this production. Get a ticket if you can.”

Michelle Lillie

“Lovely and original one man show about Graham Chapman, go and see if you are a python fan.”


“#notmessiah was absolutely glorious! What a fantastically poignant and hilarious show. Go see it!”


“Excellent, well researched, moving, funny show from @ThreesCompany. If you’re into Python, go and see Not the Messiah!”


“Very much enjoyed @ThreesCompany ‘s #notthemessiah. Funny, touching, enlightening… What’s not to love?”


“#notthemessiah Entertaining, Emotional and hugely impressive one man show #empirerecomended”


“Throughly enjoyed Not The Messiah. A stunning and moving performance. @ThreesCompany #EdFringe”


“Excellent show and incredible performance from George Telfer.”


“A very enjoyable depiction of the life and career of Graham Chapman… Highly recommend catching this show if you get the chance.”

Jon Embury

Posted in News, Reviews | 7 Comments

7 Responses to Not The Messiah – reviews and audience feedback

  1. John Vassar says:

    Superbly acted and directed, this is a ‘must-see’ – and not just for Python fans. George Telfer’s incredible performance will leave you elated and moved in equal measure.

  2. Howard Cheesman says:

    Just wanted you know how much we enjoyed this show. Funny, poignant, witty and moving it really was the very best in the one-person-show category. George Telfer didn’t just rise to the demands of this play but really became the character in as skilful a piece of writing as I have seen for ages. Thank you so much for this performance and best wishes.

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