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Quick Question ... Becoming Laurel & Hardy

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Tom McGrath's 'play on words' Laurel and Hardy is being revived at the Jermyn Street Theatre from the 1 to 18 July. Here, the show's stars, Neil Bromley and Simon Lloyd, tell us more about it...

What's the premise of the play?

Stan & Ollie are in purgatory, they can't enter heaven until they've looked back over their lives, celebrated their successes and acknowledged their mistakes.

Is it daunting portraying the world’s most famous double act?
Just a tad! They were so fantastic at what they did, the best. There's also still a great amount of affection for them. You want to get it right, but you'll never get it perfect like they did.

What did you in the way of research and preparation?
Preparation began as a small child - Laurel & Hardy were often on BBC2 after school, just before Monkey at 6pm! We've also got the dvd boxset so it's been a pleasure to wade through their films again. There are also some great books on Stan & Ollie. The Laurel & Hardy Encyclopedia by Glenn Mitchell was such a massive help it covers just about anything & everything related to them.

Is it poignant doing the play so soon after Tom McGrath's death?
It was very sad to hear the news that Tom McGrath had died. People we've met that worked with him have said what a lovely man he was.

What's your favourite Laurel and Hardy movie?
Men O War (1929) - an early talkie, where Stan & Ollie, due to lack of funds, have to share a soda. Stan drinks the whole thing. ''Why did you do it?'' Ollie asks, ''I couldn't help it'', cries Stan, ''my half was on the bottom''. It's one of the routines we do in the show too (shameless plug).

Why do you think they continue to exert such influence over modern-day comedians?
Comedians love them because they're funny, they're technically amazing and as clowns they're just so warm and likeable. Many of their gags have been recycled by others, because they got it so right, and it still works. A lot of skill, invention and love went into making their films. You can see it in every frame.

Laurel and Hardy is at the Jermyn Street Theatre from 1-18 July. For more info, click here


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