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Review: An Evening of Eric & Ern *****

Jo Turbitt reviews a production that did more than just bring her laughter.

When watching Morecambe & Wise, we feel comforted by their comedic genius, their relationship and their brilliant wit. Watching An Evening of Eric & Ern is no different. Sitting in the audience, you know you are in good hands from the first curtain twitch to the last hop.

Jonty Stephens (Eric) and Ian Ashpitel (Ern) have the classic duo down to a tee: the twitching glasses, gestures, intonations inflections, comic timing, stage presence, paper bag and their contempt for Des O’Connor.

Stephens and Ashpitel’s tribute goes above and beyond imitation—this is as close to reincarnation as we can get. The performance has all the classic lines and sketches from Morecambe & Wise, delivered with the same patter, sparky relationship and perfect timing. However, Stephens and Ashpitel have taken on the personas of the two men to the extent that their own material and improvisations sit perfectly alongside the classics that we know and love.

The show encapsulates everything that we come to expect from a Morecambe & Wise episode, from the twitching curtain, songs, sketches and a guest with whom they do a brilliant staging of ‘Send In the Clowns’ complete with clowns!

Fans of the brilliance of Morecambe & Wise will leave with a soul full of joy thanks to Stephens and Ashpitel’s performance which resonates with their adoration for their comedy heroes. Did it “Bring me laughter…”? My cheeks were sore from two hours of snickering giggling, roaring belly laughing and smiling due to the sheer happiness that this mighty duo brought to the stage.

Reviewed at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh.

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