The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres: Review

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Written and performed in the style of Morcambe and Wise, The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres is full of affectionate references to their famous skits. Yet instead of impersonating the esteemed Eric and Ernie, writers Sean Foley and Hamish McColl created new protagonists. Dennis and Thom are a failing double act. In an attempt to get back on track, they perform a play written by Thom. In true Morcambe and Wise style, everything does not go to plan and a little of the unexpected creeps in. My review is in sections and the last one is a spoiler if you intend to see the play in Malvern. If you don’t want to know who the guest star is then when you see the heading, “Who is the guest star in The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres? SPOILER!” that’s your cue to stop reading.

Dennis Herdman and Thom Tuck doing a ventriloquist act in The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres
Dennis and Thom perform a ventriloquist act

About The Play What I Wrote

The Play What I Wrote is a tribute to Morcambe and Wise, but the comedy duo involved are not a tribute act. Premiering in 2001, it was on in the West End and Broadway, before touring the UK and receiving multiple awards. The original show ran until June 2003 with a host of guest stars appearing including Jeff Goldblum and Liam Neeson.

In November 2021, The Play What I Wrote returned to the stage in a 20th Anniversary production at the Birmingham Rep. With writer Sean Foley as director, the new production remains true to its predecessor back in 2001. A guest star joins Dennis and Thom on the stage for the second half of the performance and the duo at last get to perform their play.

In the new adaptation of The Play What I Wrote, the comedy duo is formed of Dennis, played by Dennis Herdman and Thom, played by Thom Tuck. Their sidekick is Mitesh Soni. He plays a variety of characters including David Pugh, the evening’s guest star (until the real one turns up), a group of French villagers and a dog.

Dennis Herdman, Thom Tuck and Mitesh Soni in The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres
Dennis and Thom with Mitesh Soni as one of his many characters

The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres: Review

First half

The Play What I Wrote is a very short performance full of slapstick humour and in-jokes for Morcambe and Wise fans. Whilst it’s not essential to know their comedy, without some awareness of it you would definitely miss out. The comedy duo of Dennis and Thom weren’t my favourite pairing. Whilst the opening sketches were funny, laughs in the auditorium were dying out by the end of the first half. The very obvious exception was when Mitesh Soni’s characters were on stage. In fact his high-energy, entertaining humour made the show for me.

With the first act lasting less than 45 minutes, everybody in the audience seemed a little surprised when it was time for the interval already. For some reason, the interval was ridiculously long, lasting around 40 minutes. Everybody had been back in their seats for ages and was getting restless by the time the second half started.

Second half

Thankfully, with the new act came a complete change of pace. Dennis and Thom came onto the stage dressed as Eric and Ernie and were soon arguing over who was the funny one. Having finally decided to perform Thom’s play, Dennis thumbs through the telephone directory. After a couple of false starts, he declares that he has found a guest star. Mitesh Soni’s character Arthur is persuaded to dress up as that person and the play is on. That is until a “drunk” in a dressing gown turns up on stage.

As soon as the curtain rose for the second half, I started to warm to the whole production. I do think it is more for diehard Morcambe and Wise fans, simply because that is the style of humour. If you enjoy Morcambe and Wise, you will appreciate the humour in The Play What I Wrote. As someone with only a passing knowledge of Eric and Ernie, the second half won me over. The guest star’s performance was a real highlight, along with more of Mitesh Soni’s dynamic characters.

The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres featuring Dennis Herdman falling behind a sofa and Thom Tuck watching on
Behind the sofa

What else do you need to know?

  • When is The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres? From Monday 14th February to Saturday 19th February. Evening shows start at 7.30pm and matinees are on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm.
  • How long does the performance last? Just over two hours including a long interval.
  • How to book tickets: Tickets are available to book on the Malvern Theatres website.
  • Where will The Play What I Wrote be showing next? From Monday 28th February to Saturday 5th March, The Play What I wrote will be showing at Sheffield Theatres.

Who is the guest star in The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres? SPOILER!

In the second half, it is finally time for Thom to perform his play. As Dennis flicks through the telephone directory, he picks a few names out at random. We discover that the guest star in The Play What I Wrote at Malvern Theatres is Sue Holderness. Best known for playing Marlene in Only Fools and Horses.

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