AAs the title suggests, this piece of comedic silliness has a strong connection to classic 1970s TV shows Morecambe and Wise. It was co-written by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and, as the program says, “of course” with Eddie Braben, Braben having written most of the comedy duo’s BBC scripts, including the Christmas specials, with “play Ernie Wise’s wot I “wrote” a regular feature, featuring a famous guest star happy to be the hapless sketch butt. Opening in Liverpool in 2001, with McColl and Foley in the lead roles, TPWIW became a smash hit in the West End and on Broadway.
The installation, here directed by Foley (now artistic director of Birmingham Rep), looks like this: Thom (Thom Tuck) has just finished his last piece and wants to see it staged – a culmination never before achieved by any of his 71 previous feathers. Dennis (Dennis Herdman) wants Thom to hit the road again with his comedic double act (he once drew up to “… 17” spectators). David Pugh, “principal theater manager”, wants Thom and Dennis to do a tribute act to Morecambe and Wise and will pay them £ 5,000 to stage it. But wait! It’s not David Pugh, “LTI”. It is Arthur (Mitesh Soni), stage electrician, persuaded to pass himself off as DP, “LTI”, by Dennis, who wants … (see above). What Arthur wants is to play his harmonica solo in public because “I promised my mom …” Spotlight and the running gag that never comes to an end. “Not now, Arthur!
All the classic elements are present and delightfully correct: sets, gags, songs, yellow curtain and guest artist (the night I was there, Sue Holderness from Only fools and horses and EastEnders glory, which heroically stepped in at the last minute to replace the Covid-stricken reservation). Don’t you know the real Morecambe and Wise? It’s not necessary. This beautifully delivered production is a classic in its own right.