Morecambe is the World premiere of Fringe favourite director Guy Masterson’s play based on the life of John Eric Bartholomew, or Eric Morecambe as he was better known. During his lifetime Morecambe, along with Ernie Wise, became the comedy duo of historic proportions: Morecambe and Wise. It was 1984 when Eric Morecambe passed away and with numerous kind words, TV repeats and tributes since then it’s no surprise to find this play among the Edinburgh Festival Fringe line-up.
Morecambe begins with a radio address announcing the comedian’s death. The show builds from his teenage years to this point, with a brief biography and vivid performances of his gags and sketches in-between. What Bob Golding lacks in stature when compared to Eric Morecambe, he makes up for with a quite brilliant performance of the late comedian’s mannerisms and routines. It wasn’t long before Morecambe’s glasses were askew and, the trademark tricks and sketches were replayed to perfection - including the famous coin in a brown paper bag. Even the famed AndrÃ© Previn sketch translated well on stage. You may be familiar with many of the jokes and sketches, but that won’t prevent you bursting into fits of laughter.
A strong script by Tim Whitnall is majestically brought to life by a fabulous performance from Bob Golding, whose energy and polished delivery creates a jubilant and often heartwarming embodiment of Eric Morecambe. The limitations of one man shows are demolished by terrific takes on other characters and a ventriloquist dummy representing Ernie Wise. The use of the dummy surprisingly captures the bond and friendship Morecambe and Wise shared - as the play says after an initial argument they never shared a cross word in over 40 years.
“What do you think of it so far?” … Rubbish. NOT! A must see, if you can bare the oppressive heat of the venue.
Morecambe is showing at Assembly @ Assembly Hall until 31st August 2009.