The Play What I Wrote at Birmingham Repertory Theatre - Review

The Play What I Wrote at Birmingham Repertory Theatre - Review


Posted 2021-12-07 by dpmfollow

Sat 27 Nov 2021 - Sat 01 Jan 2022

There's a trip down memory lane at Birmingham Repertory Theatre this Christmas with The Play What I Wrote reminding us of the classic comedy duo Morecambe and Wise. Created by current Rep artistic director Sean Foley 20 years ago with co-writer Hamish McColl, the production is revived for the festive season.

The Play What I Wrote is no tribute show but is suffused with the spirit of Morecambe and Wise – which isn't surprising seeing as Eddie Braben, who wrote much of the original television series, is a co-writer. McColl and Foley were able to call on Braben for inspiration and a touch of the old comic genius.

The story follows two actors Dennis (Dennis Herdman) and Thom (Thom Tuck) who usually tour with a comedy show but Thom is now keen for them to branch out and has been writing serious plays. The two are pulling in different directions and as a compromise, they perform a drama within their double act.

The serious play is inspired by what was known as the 'play what I wrote' which Ernie Wise was always keen to perform and which frequently featured well-known actors in incongruous roles. Foley and McColl have included that element in The Play What I Wrote and each night the performance has a mystery guest who is set up to be the straight actor in a drama that is collapsing around them.

At press night, it was Hollywood star Tom Hiddleston who took the role of the Comte de Toblerone in 'A Tight Squeeze For the Scarlet Pimple'. Having mastered Shakespeare's Coriolanus at the National Theatre, Hiddleston played the role of the thespian down to a tee, raising an eyebrow and rolling his eyes to the audience as he surveyed the chaos.

Herdman and Tuck bring the spirit of Morecambe and Wise to their performances – for those who grew up on the comedy duo's television shows, there is plenty to remember – but the jokes also stand alone in this show. The Play What I Wrote plays for laughs in all kinds of ways from slapstick and mispronunciations to confused identities and misunderstandings.

Mitesh Soni provides the perfect foil to Herdman and Dennis donning a range of increasingly hilarious costumes to pretend to be a host of other people (and animals). One moment he is taking on the role of producer David Pugh offering the duo the chance of their own show and the next he is dressed in a blonde wig and micro miniskirt pretending to be the actress Scarlett Johansson.

It is all very daft and raises lots of laughs – there's nothing like a bit of slapstick to cheer up an audience! The Play What I Wrote continues at Birmingham Rep until January 1 and then tours with mystery guests each night. For more information see

#theatre -reviews
!date 27/11/2021 -- 01/01/2022
70576 - 2023-01-26 01:47:51


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