Written and performed by Sean Foley and Hamish McColl, together known as The Right Size, and directed by Kenneth Branagh, this excellent comedy is a wonderful 2 hours of nostalgic fun that all Morecambe and Wise fans will adore. The show even contains gags by Eddie Braben(80) who wrote for Eric & Ernie for 14 years.
The idea to make a show about Britain’s most famous and most loved double-act, Morecambe and Wise, was suggested by producer David Pugh to Foley & McColl, and what a marvellous idea it was.
The show does not attempt to tell the story of Eric and Ernie, nor is it just a straight impersonation. In fact, the show centres on the premise that McColl wants to put on his own play, but is tricked by Foley into impersonating Morecambe and Wise instead.
The essence and spirit of Eric and Ernie are captured wonderfully with all the classic mannerisms, formats and face slapping that they used in their show in the 70s, including making fun of a celebrity guest. In fact, a celebrity guest appears every night in the show who is laughed at and ridiculed unmercifully throughout: you won’t know who the guest will be until you see it (A great way to attract the punters!). Sue Johnstone (Brookside, Royle Family) appeared on the evening I saw it.
Foley & McColl are outstanding comics with exceptional timing, but it is Toby Jones as their sidekick who really excels. His dressing up as Daryl Hannah and Sue Johnstone is a scream.
The play has received positive notices from the popular press…….. MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, “Tear-inducingly funny show…..the gags come thick and fast.” SHERIDAN MORLEY for TELETEXT says, “The most anarchic, surreal and original comedy to have hit the West End in ages. “ NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, “But though Foley and McColl are brilliant slap-stick pranksters, their Morecambe and Wise routines are strictly for their legions of afficionados.” TERRI JUDD for THE INDEPENDENT says, “The Play What I Wrote, brought a touch of sunshine to the West End of London.” CHARLES SPENCER for DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "A glorious, brilliantly judged triumph." CAITLIN MORAN for THE TIMES says, "It’s a mathematical impossibility to leave the theatre unhappy." PETER HEPPLE for THE STAGE says, "An hilarious evening all round." SUSANNAH CLAPP for THE OBSERVER says, "It's a delirium tremendous. Part old-style variety, part new-style physical theatre...the comic success of the season." MICHAEL COVENEY for THE DAILY MAIL says, "Most inventive new comedy of the year."
This fast-paced show, lasting just under 2 hours, is a lot of fun and a must see even if some people will find it a bit daft!
(Ernie Wise died two years ago, aged 73, Eric Morecambe died at 58 in 1984)
Links to full reviews from newspapers...