14 June 2014
Reviewed by Michael Lancaster
Scary thought but Eric Morecambe died in May 1984, a full thirty years ago. His legacy lives on vibrantly in the form of this show.
Although the production is a one-man show called Morecambe it really is the story of both Eric and his partner, Ernie Wise. Their backgrounds were very dissimilar but through a series of accidents they gradually gelled into the finest comedy duo this nation has ever or is likely to see. If that were not true then can anyone tell me why their classic shows are frequently repeated? What is strange is that the most loved comedy acts we have enjoyed are Morecambe and Wise and Tommy Cooper. Their material would be hackneyed delivered by other comics but became hilarious gems delivered by these two acts.
I settled into my seat and was pleased to see that this comfortable theatre was 90% full on the same evening that England played Italy in The World Cup, no mean feat. It was interesting to note that there was a real sprinkling of ages with several attending who were born 15-20 years after the demise of Eric. I think several parents/grandparents took the generation following them so they could see “what the fuss was about”.
Bob Golding was outstanding in his portrayal of Eric and had all the mannerisms off to a tee. I have stated that the show is largely an affectionate tribute to Eric and Ernie. It would be wrong of me to give you an insight into how Ernie is present, you really must see the show.
This is a quality production that enjoyed a West End run. A bonus is that it plainly enjoys the support of Eric’s family. I am sure that Brits were regaled by the show, perhaps more so than passing US or Japanese visitors! Bob Golding was able to impart a high degree of skill but also worked very hard, am sure he loses weight each night. On this particular night the venue is the closest we have to Harpenden, his home, and Luton, which was his football team. Any reference to the latter was greeted with enthusiasm which may not happen elsewhere.
Allow me to close on a personal story. In the early seventies I had to drive from London to Swansea on Christmas night. At their peak the boys would enjoy a TV audience of 25-28 million (you did read it right). I drove from Reading to Bristol without seeing another car on either side of the motorway, a testimony to the pulling power of Morecambe and Wise.
An excellent show.
Morecambe is currently on tour with the next stop at The Orchard Theatre in Dartford on 15 June. For more information and tour dates visit www.morecambetour.co.uk.
Grove Theatre, Grove Park, Court Drive, Dunstable, LU5 4GP | Box Office 01582 602080