Spend an evening in Doncaster with duo recreating classic Morecambe and Wise comedy
Two actors expertly recreate the comedy of Morecambe and Wise and look at the duo’s relationship in a new show.
An Evening of Eric & Ern at Cast in Doncaster on June 29 stars Ian Ashpitel as Ernie Wise and Jonty Stephens as Eric Morecambe.
The show is full of those famous comedy sketches that would have whole families gathered around the telly on Sunday evenings.
Here, the duo talk about the show and their own partnership.
What made you want to do a show that uses Morecambe and Wise as the inspiration?
Jonty: To be honest it all came about through other people seeing what we had from a five-minute sketch and saying ‘you should do something with this’.
Ian: It’s only when we sat down and talked about it that we decided that if we were going to do something, it had to be a play that looked at the relationship between Eric and Ern.
Jonty: It was a real voyage of discovery for both of us. I was a massive Morecambe and Wise fan and had seen and read just about everything they’d ever done or had been written about them.
Ian: Yes, it was Jonty’s brilliant impression of Eric and his knowledge of Morecambe and Wise that laid the foundation to everything that followed, really,
How did you both meet and how did the pairing for this show happen?
Ian: We first met at d rama school in 1983 - I was a mature student…
Jonty: And I was an immature student.
Ian: Despite Jonty being two years ahead of me and me being a lowly first year, we became the best of friends and have remained so ever since.
Jonty: The pairing happened for that five-minute sketch which we performed at the host club for the Stage Golfing Society, of which we are both members. Some fool asked me to do Eric for the show and I said “Yes, but I’ll need a Little Ern, I looked across the bar and there was Ian with his hair and short fat hairy legs,
Ian: Then six years later they asked us to do it again, but this time we wrote some material in the style of M and W and It went down so well we realised two things - people believed were good enough to portray them and that perhaps we could write something about them as well.
How would you describe what you do and how does it make you feel when you do it?
Jonty: Well, what we try and do is get the audience to believe that for two hours we are Eric and Ern - and no-one knows more than we do what a tall order that is.
Ian: Jonty always said, ‘We’re sticking our heads above the parapet and hoping no-one shoots us down’ and they haven’t yet.
It’s gone from Jonty doing an impression and then growing into both of us doing a portrayal of two working- class lads who ‘made it’ in comedy.
Jonty: And there’s no better feeling in the world than making people laugh, but to make them laugh as Morecambe and Wise… it’s a joy to perform as them. They were so beloved by the public and we feel that affection when we’re doing the show.
Ian: It’s special. And it’s us, as it was them, as a duo, a double act, making them laugh - together.
*Box office: castindoncaster.com