Iconic duo still raise a laugh

How do you bring two iconic figures of comedy to the stage when they are best known for their film routines? How do you bring to life two such distinctive characters as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy without missing the mark?

Laurel and Hardy by Tom McGrath - The New Wolsey until May 3rd.

How do you bring two iconic figures of comedy to the stage when they are best known for their film routines? How do you tell the story of two men's complicated lives with only two actors and a piano player? How do you bring to life two such distinctive characters as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy without missing the mark?

In this remarkable production, the New Wolsey and director Peter Rowe make the impossible happen and Laurel and Hardy come to life again before our eyes in two fabulous performances by Ben Fox and Christian Patterson and a set of routines that are a tribute to the genius of the greatest comedy team of then all.

Tom Mcgrath's script takes us through their lives and allows us to see some of the turbulence that was behind the comedy, the two actors playing wives, lovers and studio men in the process.

On a minimal set accompanied by their signature tunes they also recreate some of the most famous comedy routines ever seen on film, and they had the Wolsey audience laughing as much as if they had seen them for the first time.

Their comedy was timeless and in spite of their private heartaches they aimed to make the public laugh and that is what they did in a career that spanned over 30 years.

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This is a great tribute to the founders of modern comedy and thoroughly entertaining in the process. Even if you are not a committed fan of the duo I urge you to go and see this production and defy you not to come out with a smile on your face. My only disappointment was that they didn't sing The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. But then you can't have everything.

Susan Hawkes

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