Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I sadly never had the pleasure of watching comedy legends Morecambe and Wise live, however watching doppelgänger duo Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel in Eric and Ern at Christmas felt as close to the much-loved real deal as you could possibly get.
Physically and vocally the resemblance is uncanny while their silly humour and quick wit has the audience roaring with laughter from the off. Bearing in mind at the peak of their popularity Morecambe and Wise could easily draw audiences of close to 30 million it’s no surprise that there’s a huge amount of affection for a show based on these comedy kings.
The show recreates brilliantly what it might have been like to see the late great Morecambe and Wise on stage; the set recreates the familiar festive sets of the TV specials with the draping red curtain, decorated Christmas tree and of course a grand piano. The sketches are timeless and incredibly funny while the warm chemistry which radiates between the two performers is wonderful.
Just as Morecambe and Wise were great friends so are Stephens and Ashpitel who met back in drama school, they don’t miss a beat and are completely in tune with one another.
There’s clearly been a huge amount of work gone into this brilliant homage to their comedy heroes, their well-observed, perfectly timed punchlines hit the mark every time.
The late Eddie Braben who worked with Morecambe and Wise as a sketch writer back in their glory days kindly gave permission to Stephens and Ashpitel to use many of their much-loved TV sketches, some of which are brilliantly recreated on stage for today’s audience.
Singer Sinead Wall takes on the role of the classic ‘special guest’, her voice is fantastic as she offers further opportunity for comedy capers both behind and around her including the infamous and hilarious ‘Send in the clowns’ sketch.
There’s a real feeling of joy in the Lowry’s Quays theatre as the audience finish off punchlines, laugh until the tears roll and even get the opportunity to join in with a classic singalong or two.
At a time when the world desperately needs a little sunshine this is exactly what Stephens and Ashpitel bring, this nostalgic trip down memory lane is a real Christmas cracker!
Eric and Ern at Christmas is on at The Lowry until Sunday 12th December tickets available here.