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Hats Off to Laurel and Hardy by Tom McGrath
Lucky Dog Productions bring Tom McGrath's occasionally heartbreaking biographical drama to the Grand Pavilion stage.
A silent movie Ollie and Stan backdrop; there's a surreal start to the proceedings as we enter the world of Laurel and Hardy in this tender and brilliant rendition of Tom McGrath's bittersweet play. There's something of Godot about this piece. Two legends scared of telling the truth. Stan Laurel is played by Tony Carpenter and Oliver Hardy is played by Philip Hutchinson. These two have studied THAT two well. They are visually consistent and convincing, though this is no consistent impersonation.
They do not try to be exactly like Stan and Babe all the time. They focus instead on the essence, and they capture that essence consistently. At wonderfully shiversome moments, the whole piece shifts into perfect focus and we have them exactly before us. At other times, it matters less for we are in story, not set piece, we are in biography, not sight gag. It is important that this isn't just an attempt to impersonate the two using the best known bits we all remember. Instead we get an engaging and sometimes elating, sometimes sad story that fully stands out as theatre in its own right - the story of two souls fearful of their futures, and making and breaking as they get older.
The twosome are deceased and will tell us who they really were. That's the promise - and that promise is delivered on in an outstanding way.
The tale begins.... 1892, Atlanta Georgia. The birth of Oliver Norville Hardy.... It's a surprisingly off the wall script in places but the traditional essence of these two has been lovingly preserved in moments of tenderness, moments of lovingly recreated comedy, moments of frustration, and moments of death and dying.
This is a lovely piece of theatre built around a well crafted biography for two.
Tickets £8 adv £7 Friends
All seated performance.
Bar and Cafe available.
Nearest train station - Matlock Bath (Derby to Matlock line).
Parking - 200 spaces on Temple Row
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Old Bank B and B - 01629 55550
Temple Hotel - 01629 583911
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Ashdale Guest House - 01629 57826
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