Seeing unannounced stars at the Lowry


Dennis Herdman, Mitesh Soni and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote.  Pic:  Manuel Harlan
Dennis Herdman, Mitesh Soni and Thom Tuck in The Play What I Wrote. Pic: Manuel Harlan

Previous "mystery guest stars" have included Tom Hiddleston, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue, Sir Ian McKellen, Dawn French and Sting. So who will be the surprise star when you see The Play What I Wrote? at Salford's Lowry later this month.

It’s definitely one of the best marketing gimmicks any producer has managed to devise for the stage – and it isn’t a gimmick: someone pretty famous is guaranteed to turn up, such is the pulling power of the play and producer David Pugh. And of course it mimics – almost – the device of TV's The Morecambe and Wise Show, which always dragged its guest stars into Ernie Wise's plays.

Following a Christmas season in Birmingham that was marked by five-star rave reviews, this new production of the homage to British TV's most beloved comedy double act is at The Lowry from January 31-February 5.

Starring Dennis Herdman, Mitesh Soni and Thom Tuck, it’s directed by double Olivier Award winner and Birmingham Rep artistic director Sean Foley, who wrote this version with Hamish McColl and the great Eddie Braben, Morecambe and Wise's TV writer.

Bearing a close relationship to Eric and Ernie's classic 1970s TV shows, Tuck and Herdman play a family-friendly comedy double act in the doldrums. Thom is disappointed he never gets the laughs so is trying his hand at serious play writing. The duo is finally to perform his masterpiece A Tight Squeeze for The Scarlet Pimple but unknown to him, it's an attempt by Dennis to set them up as a Morecambe and Wise tribute act, which leads to disagreements as the pair's ambitions collide.

Eventually we see Thom’s play – what he wrote, produced and which features a mystery guest star...


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