ERIC AND LITTLE ERN
Eric and Little Ern
This lovingly crafted homage to one of the all time most loved British comedy duos, Morecambe and Wise, is brought to realisation by great characterisation by the two actors –Jonty Stephens as Eric and Ian Ashpitel as Ernie- who also devised the whole project and brought it to successful fruition. It is a hard task to set yourself in trying to recreate such lovable and easily identifiable characters ,to several generations, but Stephens and Ashpitel manage to not only recreate the characterisations and nuances of the duo but also something of the internal dynamic and chemistry that made them so special.
The scene is set in a hospital ward and it is clear that Ernie Wise is seriously ill when a doctor ambles in and picks up a clipboard and starts checking his stats before pulling out his glasses immediately affecting a transformation into Eric Morecambe. It really is that simple for Stephens to turn himself into the great comic and it must be the only occasion I have ever attended a show where the simple act of putting on a pair of glasses has registered recognition and elicited such a loud cheer from the audience.
The pair are then off on their own brand of reminiscences and it becomes obvious that this is Ernie more or less on his death bed and one last show between the two legendary performers is what is required. The stage then becomes an even more familiar stage with a backdrop of a red curtain-it is amazing how such innocuous details as a pair of spectacles or a red curtain are so identifiable as trademarks of this pair- and we are off into some of their best loved moments borrowing heavily from Eddie Braben’s classic material alongside the on point delivery.
This is a gem of a show and for anyone of several generations it will transport you back to a more innocent entertainment era when families actually all communed around the home’s solitary television to share in something special. In many ways it is a light relief from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh in August and a hell of a lot funnier than ninety per cent of what is passing for comedy at various other venues in the city right now.
Eric and Little Ern is on at 3.15pm at Gilded Balloon until August 26th