Birmingham’s historic Old Rep Theatre rocked to the sound of roaring laughter tonight, as it hosted ‘An Evening of Eric & Ern‘ a glorious recreation of the magic that was Morecambe and Wise. You may never get the chance to see that iconic double act live, but this show is so uncannily like the real thing, you will find yourself transfixed. It is sheer magic.
The show recreates a full length style episode of the show, complete with some recreations of their most famous sketches, and song and dance routines. Eric Morecambe is Jonty Stephens, who can reduce you to tears of laughter just by lifting up his famous glasses, whilst Ernie Wise, ‘Little Ern’, the one with the short fat hairy legs is lovingly portrayed by Ian Ashpitel. Together they have produced a show that makes you laugh and smile from start to finish, as the one liners, gentle innuendo and those extended pauses that come complete with knowing facial expressions, greet you like old friends.
What I love about this show is that it has a timeless appeal, the sketches and jokes are just as funny as they were in the 1970s heyday, when the duo ruled prime time comedy. A scene where Eric is attempting ventriloquism, with Ernie providing the voice, is just hilarious, and Eric playing all the right notes ‘but not necessarily in the right order’ had the audience roaring, just like it did all those years ago.
Of course, Eric and Ern were famous for their special guests, and the audience was not disappointed as the lovely Becky Neal was treated to the Morecambe and Wise treatment as she sang ‘Send in the Clowns’ (I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this). Becky is the perfect comic foil, she can sing beautifully, and keep a straight face, as these comic geniuses create mayhem all around.
An Evening of Eric and Ern is beautifully observed, wonderfully entertaining and hysterically funny. It brings sunshine every step of the way.