Ian Ashpitel & Jonty Stephens as Eric and Ern
Critically acclaimed and Olivier Award-nominated for their uncanny portrayal of the legendary comedy duo, Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, IAN ASHPITEL & JONTY STEPHENS as ‘ERIC & ERN’ is touring the UK from 29th January to 30th April 2022.
Crammed full of renditions of those famous comedy sketches, and coupled with contemporary references in their unique style, the show evokes memories of times when whole families would huddle around the telly on Sunday evenings to share in the much-loved antics of Britain’s national treasures.
As seen on BBC One’s ‘The One Show’ and ITV1’s ‘The Alan Titchmarsh Show’, the performances contain some of the first new writing in the style of Morecambe & Wise material in over 30 years.
Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens have been performing and writing as Eric and Ern for more than five years. The research into their subjects is there for all to see in their staggeringly accurate portrayal of the most successful and much loved British comedy duo of all time. The performers themselves have a wonderful relationship with the families and estates of Morecambe & Wise – with all scripts given the families’ seal of approval before being performed.
“I have been fascinated with Eric Morecambe for as long as I can remember,” says Jonty. “I took on his persona at school and it never really left me. He was the funniest and loveliest of men. We both feel it’s a privilege to play Eric and Ernie and some people have said it’s like we’re channelling them – some nights it does feel like that.”
Ian said: “We do treasure the relationship we have with each other – as did Eric and Ernie – and I think it’s obvious that we love performing the comedy of Morecambe and Wise.”
Ian and Jonty met at drama school over 30 years ago and continued their friendship playing golf together at The Stage Golf Society in Richmond. When Jonty was asked to play Eric at a charity show he knew that with his short fat hairy legs Ian would be the perfect Ernie Wise. Having brought the house down the two then wrote some ‘bespoke’ material for their friends at the golf club.
It was these performances which set them off on an incredible journey, with rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, an acclaimed West End season at the Vaudeville Theatre, and an Olivier Award nomination for ‘the play wot we wrote’ – ‘Eric and Little Ern’.
Jonty said: “More importantly, the audiences love watching it – which is always handy. But it’s more than just watching a comedy show – there’s a real emotional connection, because we all remember watching it together. The audience reaction has been amazing.
“I never thought I’d See Morecambe and Wise live. I think I just have!” Ben Elton
“Wonderfully affectionate performances. They were both absolutely brilliant.” Lord Grade, former agent to Morecambe and Wise, who negotiated the duo’s move from ATV to BBC2 in 1968