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Review: Eric and Little Ern at the Vaudeville

Jonty Stephens as Eric Morecambe and Ian Ashpitel as Ernie Wise

Edinburgh fringe sell-out based around comedy duo Morecambe and Wise has landed in the West End.

Performed by Jonty Stephens (Eric Morecambe) and Ian Ashpitel (Ernie Wise) it is part homage, part biography of the much-loved British veterans of variety and Saturday night TV.

The first half of the hour and 35 minute show (including interval) sees the two reminiscing about their career. The premise is that Ernie is in hospital having suffered a heart attack and Eric is visiting.

It is a clever mix of anecdotes, references and skits, almost an extended sketch in the vein of their most popular performances. They tease each other even making a joke of Morecambe's death on stage of a heart attack which was actually 15 years prior to Ernie's own death of heart failure. It is tastefully done and could've have been written by the famous duo themselves. 

The second half sees them perform 'proper' in typical Morecambe and Wise style in front of the red velvet drapes of a stage curtain, finishing of course with the trademark 'Bring Me Sunshine'.

Stephens has the Morecambe mannerisms down pat and you almost forget that it isn't him. Ashpitel too is very good as Ernie but as with the real comedians it is Morecambe that does all the scene stealing and attention grabbing.

This is a lovely piece of gently funny nostalgia and is brilliantly done but probably only one for those who are fond and familiar with Morecambe and Wise. They were part of my childhood and it reminded me of family evenings sat around the TV. I left whistling 'Bring Me Sunshine' and with a tear in my eye mainly because I know how much my parents would have loved it.

It is sharing the Vaudeville Theatre with The Duck House and therefore mainly has matinee performances and is booking until March 2.