Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Play What I Wrote, Lyceum Theatre Sheffield, 10/11/06

Bit stressed out from essays, birthday preparations, and general stuff at the mo, so this won't be too long.... :)

So, the Morecambe and Wise play, right? Well, right and wrong. It was clear that a lot of the audience had come to see classic sketches acted out, and at half time many were disappointed - I actually heard a guy say 'They aren't doing what I paid my money for!'. So he hadn't done his homework, that's fair enough. But what's really not that fair enough is then refusing to accept what's actually been put in front of you, and evaluating that rather than what you expected/hoped for. Not that the comment riled me, or anything. The show actually follows another comedy double act, but listen to the explanation and you'll realise that there's certain similarities to the seminal pair: one is always goofing around, making a joke out of everything, upstaging his partner. The other is a little pompous, serious, and a very bad playwright. Sound familiar? I could say that The Play What I Wrote explores the dynamics and possible pitfalls of a funn-man/straight-man double act, because, well, it does. But really, it's guys channelling the fun and freedom of Eric and Ernie's shows, without re-enacting them word for word, and actors Andrew Cryer and Greg Haiste (and wonderful third man Anthony Hoggard) do it very well. I'm not sure it entirely works because, while I know it's not cool to say this, some of the Morecambe and Wise humour has aged quite a bit, but it's a lot of fun, and the direct references are used sparingly enough to make them feel special - 'He won't sell much ice-cream going at that speed!'

3 comments:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Interesting point, and one that reinforces my thought that often audiences can make or break a show. If the expectation is off, it can really scupper a good show just because it isn't what people expect.

I always try and take things on their own terms, because it is the best way to enjoy them. Not everyone finds that easy to do...

PS hope you are less stressed soon!

AnnaWaits said...

Thanks!
Yes, the audience is always the unknown quantity and as you say, it (we!) can make a night really magical, or... really plodding.

stu_n said...

Funny to think of TPWIW with a different cast — saw it twice with McColl and Foley (who co-wrote it) and loved it, but it was so suited to them that I can't imagine anyone else doing it!

Funny thing — my GF and I (in our mid-30s) loved it — we can still make each other crack up with the 'It's a chihuahua' line whenever we see a ludicrously large dog. My parents, who you'd think would be more the target audience age, hated it — and they weren't expecting an M&W re-enactment.