In the mood for a dose of old fashioned punch-line driven comedy, with a good helping of nostalgia on the side? Then you better head on over to Theatre on the Bay to catch the dashing Craig Urbani in the Olivier Award winning play, Morecambe.
With a puppet, occasional curlers (fabulous!), amuzing accents and a smörgåsbord of colourful characters, Urbani channels the legend of Eric Morecambe in a delightfully lighthearted manner. In between the drum roll-typed cued laughs, his skilful performance allows you to glimps just enough substance to make you ponder the life, losses and loves of the dancing man behind the ever smirking BBC poster boy mask.
Admittedly, your experience of this one man play, with laughs delicately balanced with subtle tinges of sadness, may bring some moments of confusion if you are not well acquainted with the history and antics of Eric Morecambe.
Regardless of those moments, hats-off to the brilliant Urbani for bringing Morecambe back to life in the most magical manner that got giggles from even the youngest British comedy virgins! And when I say magical, I'm not only talking about the magic of seeing a live theatre show, but an actual element of real stage magic that will have you driving home wondering "Hey, wait, how did he do THAT?!"
To make your Morecambe experience all the more amazing, I thought I would share a few good-to-now facts that uncovered some subtle gems for me, as I immersed myself in the on stage shenanigans. Apart from the fact that comedian Eric Morecambe was a fellow Taurean (which makes him all the more awesome in my book) the play reveals its many layers more readily when you know that -
he was born John Eric Bartholomew to parents George and Sadie of Morecambe, a town in England;
his mom worked as a waitress to pay for his dancing lessons as a youngster;
in 1940 he auditioned for Jack Hylton and joined the revue, Youth Takes a Bow, where he met his double act partner, Ernest Wiseman
the act Morecambe & Wise took a break during WWII, when Ernest joined the Navy and Eric became a Bevin Boy and worked in the Accrington coal mine
Morecambe had more than one heart attack scare during his lifetime and was so paranoid after the first, that he diarised his back and arm pains thereafter, which to a degree also affected his 'on stage' confidence
Morecambe & Wise's BBC TV career had its ups and downs mainly because their shows were so over scripted that they became unfunny comics, who during their stint in America were also labeled "England's problem"; but
the tide did turn, when they were eventually given the room to express their own comedic flair, with their 1977 annual BBC Christmas special reaching 28,385,000 people!
With these breadcrumbs and the promise of the theatre treat of having the amazing Urbani guide you through Morecambe, what else can I tempt you with to book your tickets already for your mandatory dose of iconic "Sunshine"?
Well, I also had the treat of seeing Paul Lee Lötter, the Go4word Photographer behind all those great Computicket photos you see online, snap some awesome Morecambe moments! As a picture speaks a 1000 words, I'll just sneakily further entice you with 2000 of Paul's 'words' here and smugly sit back knowing that after you have glimpsed these, you will definitely be running over to Computicket to book before run ends 27 June at Theatre on the Bay!