Direct from Edinburgh, Eric and Little Ern has opened at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre for a limited eight week run. The production stars Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel who have also created the show.
While the Eric and Little Ern is a celebration of the duos career, it tries to not just be a tribute show. Morecambe and Wise fans will be in heaven as Stephens and Ashpitel have clearly conducted plenty of research, the detail in their performances is exquisite. In the programme they look fairly different to Eric and Ern, but on stage they bring the comedy duo to life.
The play begins with Ernie in a hospital bed, prior to his death in 1999. He is visited by Eric, who passed away fourteen years previously. The first act explores their forty-three year relationship from their teenage years to their overnight success and Eric’s death. Although consistently funny, the first act lacks direction and appears a little static and the set is limiting.
Fortunately the second act is much stronger and is performed in performance context. I felt more at ease watching the piece and found that the pace rarely slowed. Eric and Ern’s banter is priceless and their humour is timeless. Fans will not be able to find a better tribute act and will be left reminiscing. Ending with a jolly of rendition of ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, Eric and Little Ern provides just over an hour and a half of harmless fun.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th November 2013
Eric and Little Ern runs at the Vaudeville Theatre until 12th January 2014