I went to see Morecambe -The Play last night when it played to a full house in Newbury. The play was first put on at the Edinburgh Festival in 2009 followed by an extended run in London.
It is a one-man show and you can understand why it has won lots of awards. Irrespective of your age, and memories of Morecambe & Wise, I think your spirits will be all the better for seeing this. It was really brilliant.
It is touring the UK now and will be on at the Citizens Theatre from 25th May. It is well worth seeing if you can. I will copy a review below.
Review from Daily Telegraph
"Never mind writing a prescription for Prozac. Doctors should be able to dispense free tickets for Morecambe to the depressed.
I have rarely experienced a warmer, funnier or more touching one-man show. There isn't a moment of malice in it, not a second of boredom. In a tour-de-force performance that never seems flashy or self-advertising, Bob Golding somehow becomes the reincarnation of the most universally loved of British comedians.
He gives us the life story, the gags, the highs and lows of a career that ended backstage at a theatre in Tewkesbury in 1984 when Eric Morecambe suffered his final heart attack and died, far too young, at 58.
In fact the show, written by Tim Whitnall, actually begins with news of his death. The next thing we see is Eric peering through the curtains with that famously glassy grin on his face, having just arrived in some heavenly dressing room. There's a chaise-longue, a bottle of Scotch – "Johnnie Walker, I know him well, makes you see double and act single" – and a props basket containing a ventriloquist's dummy version of Ernie Wise.
This last device might sound disrespectful to Ernie, but in fact the show makes it crystal clear how much Eric respected and relied on his partner through a career together spanning 43 years that began when they met as juveniles.
For showbiz junkies like me, the evocation of music halls and variety bills, of characters like the agent Billy Marsh and the impresario Lew Grade, and of the young Eric and Ernie trying to make the punters laugh at the Windmill when all the audience wanted to do was ogle the naked girls, proves pure delight.
It took Morecambe and Wise a long time to reach the top. At the age of 30, Morecambe, always a worrier, feared they were washed up after a dire TV show in which a critic defined television "as the box in which they buried Morecambe and Wise". Eric kept the cutting in his wallet for the rest of his life.
There are moving descriptions of Eric's love for his wife Joan – even if he did describe her as having "the legs of a nightingale and the voice of an ostrich" – and of the heart attacks that blighted his life and cut short his career. When Des O'Connor heard about Morecambe's first serious attack he stopped the show he was appearing in asked the entire audience to pray for him. Later Eric thanked him. "It was the prayers of those six or seven people that made all the difference," he quipped.
Much of the show's pleasure depends on its comforting familiarity – the paper bag trick and the false-leg gag, the catchphrases and the one-liners – but what makes it such a winner is its generous heart. Golding clearly loves his subject and it is a feeling shared by the entire house.
This is a show that will bring sunshine into the lives of all who see it"