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IAN ASHPITEL and Jonty Stephens return with An Evening of Eric & Ern on a UK tour running until December 13.
Crammed full of renditions of those famous Morecambe and Wise comedy sketches, and coupled with contemporary references, the show evokes memories of times when whole families would huddle around the telly to share in the much-loved antics of Britain’s national treasures.
The performances contain some of the first new writing in the style of Morecambe and Wise material in over 30 years.
Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens have been performing and writing as Eric and Ern for five years. The research into their subjects is there for all to see in their staggeringly accurate portrayal of the most successful British comedy duo of all time.
“I have been fascinated with Eric Morecambe for as long as I can remember,” says Jonty. “I took on his persona at school and it never really left me. He was the funniest and loveliest of men. We both feel it’s a privilege to play Eric and Ernie and some people have said it’s like we’re channelling them.”
Ian and Jonty met at drama school 30 years ago and continued their friendship playing golf at The Stage Golf Society in Richmond. When Jonty was asked to play Eric at a charity show he knew that Ian
would be the perfect Ernie Wise. Having brought the house down the two then wrote some ‘bespoke’ material for their friends.
Ian explains: “It was these performances which laid the foundation for a very long and incredible journey that led to rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.” This was followed by a run at The Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End, which was topped by an Olivier Award nomination for ‘the play wot we wrote’ - Eric and Little Ern.
Jonty says: “The audiences love watching it. But it’s more than just watching a comedy show, there’s a real emotional connection, because we all remember watching it together.”
The show is at the Norwich Playhouse on Friday, November 9 and at Bury St Edmunds’ Apex Theatre on Thursday, 13.
Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens as Eric Morecambe and Enie Wise.