The play What I Wrote at the Cambridge Arts Theater

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After being revived last year – 80 years after Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise first performed on stage together – this affectionate and critically acclaimed celebration of the much-loved comedy duo, which was created for the premiered in 2001, had its opening night at the Cambridge Arts Theater on Monday 21 February.

Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote. Photo: Manuel Harlan

The play also delves into the nature of comedy duos in general – in this case, the pairing of “straight man” Thom (Thom Tuck) and “funny man” Dennis (Dennis Herdman). In the story, Thom wrote a play set in the French Revolution called A tight squeeze for the scarlet button.

Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote.  Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote. Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote.  Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Dennis, meanwhile, is keen to continue their double act, convinced that if they pay tribute to Morecambe and Wise, Thom’s confidence will be restored and the duo will continue. But first, Dennis must persuade a guest star to appear in the play what Thom wrote.

A mysterious guest star then appears at each performance and some of those who have performed in the past include Sir Roger Moore, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue, Nigel Havers and Tom Hiddleston.

Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote.  Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote. Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote.  Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Tonight’s special guest was Sue Holderness, probably better known as Marlene from Only fools and horses. She did a great job in a role that required a lot of physical work, and a lot of hilarity was drawn from the various misinterpretations of her surname.

Plus, as far as the comedic moments go, there were some wonderful bits of slapstick – especially in the first half – and plenty of whimper-inducing puns, as well as nice nods to Eric and Ernie who left a warm feeling of nostalgia. .

Thom and Dennis were cast perfectly as “the straight man” and “the funny man”, respectively, with Thom’s impersonation of Eric Morecambe and Dennis’ dancing and over-the-top physical movements in general being particular highlights .

Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote.  Photo: Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote. Photo: Manuel Harlan
The play What I Wrote
The play What I Wrote

The pair were ably supported by Mitesh Soni in a number of roles and did well to keep the energy level up, although there were times when the proceedings started to drag on a bit and the whole comedy didn’t hit the right grades. Still, it was a very entertaining piece overall and I’m glad I finally got to see it.

The play What I Wrote is at the Cambridge Arts Theater until Saturday 26 February. To visit cambridgeartstheatre.com.

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