Laurel & Hardy brought back to life at The Capitol

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Phoenix Theatre Arts is bringing the iconic partnership of Laurel & Hardy to The Capitol, Horsham, next month.

The iconic comedy duo will appear on stage on Saturday, February 22, at 7.30pm.

Tom McGrath’s play, simply titled Laurel & Hardy, takes an intimate and hilarious journey through the rise and demise of this incredible partnership by highlighting the memorable moments and funniest routines from their extraordinary career.

These characters are brought to life by Dan James (Stan Laurel) and Lee Pace (Ollie Hardy), two comedic actors who struck up a partnership while appearing in pantomime in Harlow.

Spotted by the Stage Newspaper as “a comic double act in the best tradition of Laurel and Hardy”, attention was also drawn to Dan James’ uncanny facial resemblance to Stan Laurel.

The production was first staged at the Rhodes Theatre, Hertfordshire, in May 2013 and was well received by audiences of all ages. It was the show’s instant broad appeal that convinced producer Phil Dale that it should be toured nationally.

Phil said: “Initially the production was really a labour of love. We had talked about it for quite a few years, but the time never really seemed right, particularly when Dan had his first child back in 2011. Eventually it was brought to life and we were just bowled over by the response.”

The production utilises a projection screen that is central to the set, which is based on a TV studio from the 1920s. Throughout the 90-minute journey, Dan and Lee play a multitude of different characters including managers, wives, girlfriends and movie producers.

However, the most hilarious moments come when legendary routines such as Stan and Ollie’s decorating slapstick are reprised, move for move.

Phil said: “We knew that we would appeal to a slightly older audience who ‘appreciated’ Laurel and Hardy. What we didn’t realise was that kids as young as seven and eight would come along and be in stitches at the custard pies and falling over. But then again, kids love Ant and Dec and they wouldn’t be where they are now if it wasn’t for Laurel and Hardy. Ant and Dec, Reeves and Mortimer, Morecombe and Wise – they all owe it to the fat guy and the skinny guy – they started it all.”

Tickets: £16.50, £12.50, family ticket £50. Call the box office on 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.