Recreating the comedy of the legendary Morecambe and Wise should be a daunting prospect but actors Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel pull it off to perfection.
The duo are bringing a revamped version of their Olivier-nominated play, ‘Eric and Little Ern’ to the Carnegie Hall this Saturday as part of the Fife Comedy Festival.
Ian said that the new show ‘Eric and Ern’ is more straightforward than the play.
He said: “A friend said why don’t you do a version with just the songs and sketches, so that’s what we’ve done.
Jonty added: “Hopefully this is the nearest you’ll get to an evening with Morecambe and Wise.
“The first time we performed this version it went down really well which gave us the springboard to bring it up to Fife and we’re really looking forward to it.”
The pair have been friends for 30 years and as well as performing as Morecambe and Wise, work as actors, but Ian said: “We fit in other things when we can but this has taken over our lives!”
Jonty said: “It took us a year to write the play.
“We got so obsessed that our partners banned us from talking to each other!
“But I think we had to be obsessed to get it right and in the intervening years it’s continued to grow.
“It’s amazing fun and we’re obviously playing to Morecambe and Wise fans but we’re also getting young people brought along by parents.
“It’s a real broad range of people, which is quite exciting because some people don’t know them, come and see us, then go away and look them up on You Tube or whatever.
“Hopefully we’re introducing a new generation of people to Morecambe and Wise because for us it’s a huge honour to be carrying the baton.”
Ian says that the pair haven’t tired of Eric and Ern, remaining huge fans: “We still laugh at the scripts ourselves. When we rehearse we’ll crack up at certain gags, that’s how brilliant they are.”
Jonty adds: “Ernie was undervalued by a lot of people - but never by Eric.
“It’s Morecambe AND Wise!
“They were perfect together. That was their genius.”
Eric Morcambe and Ernie Wise were the UK’s most successful double act. They started working together in their mid-teens but it took almost 20 years before they became a hit with in the early 1960s.