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Let's Talk - - DIARY DATES -

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.

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