It won't be the end of the show by any means, however. Pugh told Whatsonstage.com that he has had "so many approaches" from foreign producers that the plan is now to take the comedy on a world tour, starting in spring 2003 in New York - just in time for the Tony nominations deadline. In the meantime, Pugh wants to "go out on top" in the West End and "give the boys a break" after eight months of non-stop performances.
Comedy duo Sean Foley and Hamish McColl, aka the Right Size, created the The Play What I Wrote and, according to Pugh, are irreplaceable in performance of it. As such, there won't be any simultaneous productions, but rather a steady touring schedule over the coming months and years, ahead of an eventual return to the West End. By the time the production ends its current London season, it will have recouped its initial investment three times over and made a clear profit of £3 million.
In The Play What I Wrote, Foley and McColl, playing themselves, are approached to stage a tribute to legendary comedians Morecambe and Wise, but Foley is only tricked into the project when McColl convinces him that they'll actually be premiering his new self-penned drama A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple. The play-within-a-play chaotically unfolds with the help of a nightly "surprise celebrity guest".
To date, that slot has been filled, according to an unpublished rota system, by the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Richard Wilson, Ewan McGregor, Jerry Hall, Dawn French, Minnie Driver and Kenneth Branagh, who has also directed the production. The high count of celebrities, who've apparently been clamouring to participate, has kept media interest high and, no doubt, encouraged repeat viewings from theatregoers and Morecambe and Wise fans.
The Play What I Wrote is in contention for three 2002 Laurence Olivier Awards - Best Actor (with Foley and McColl nominated jointly), Best Supporting Actor (for Toby Jones) and Best New Comedy. It has for two Whatsonstage.com Awards - Best Ensemble Performance and Best New Comedy, in which it competes with fellow Right Size offering, Bewilderness, seen last spring at the Lyric Hammersmith. (To vote, click here - voting closes Sunday 3 February 2002.)
- by Terri Paddock