Eric and Little Ern…

It is with some trepidation that I consume the output of people that I know.

Not because I worry that it will be too good and more successful than my own ventures – (which is sadly how too many show business people think) - but because I want to enjoy their work, so that I can shout about it.

No problem last night then when I caught this wonderful show.

Like a warm comedy blanket with digital comic timing to arrive in time for London’s cold weather -  the show is a reverent homage to our inimitable and much loved comedy duo. The performances are astounding.

Ian Ashpitel (Ernie) and Jonty Stephens (Eric) are old friends – just like the Eric and Ernie were and seeing how perfect this show is, I wonder how long it was until this idea occurred to Ashpitel and Stephens, how excited they must have been? Physically, they are both perfect and they both assume the characters perfectly. Stephens has the harder job because Morecombe has the more defined characteristics, mannerisms and his voice of course. Stephens is absolutely flawless. Barry Cryer was there last night – a man who knows his comedy as well as anyone and crucially, he knew Morecambe and Wise – and he was blown away by the show and their performances. That is some endorsement.

But not to take away from the skill of Ernie Wise and any actor taking on his depiction. Morecombe was the funny man. A man as funny as any comic this country has ever produced – and playing Little Ern requires an actor who can understate and accept the inevitable laughter shadow of his bigger and more talented partner. Ashpitel is a classy guy and a brilliant comic actor and he is masterful in this role and a perfect compliment to the free running and hilarious Stephens.

A family show that will make children, parents and grandparents laugh in equal measure – please shared this review – I would love to see the show extend and tour because it is what it and they deserve.



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