12th January 2022
By Shaun Tossell
The award-winning comedy The Play What I Wrote has returned with a brand new production and is currently touring the country. I headed to the Theatre Royal Bath to find out what all the fuss was all about.
The Play What I Wrote is about a comedy duo Thom & Dennis, where “‘Thom’ has written a play, an epic set in the French Revolution called ‘A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple’. ‘Dennis’, on the other hand, wants to continue with their double act. He believes that if they perform a tribute to Morecambe and Wise, Thom’s confidence will be restored and the double act will go on. But first Dennis needs to persuade a guest star to appear in the play what Thom wrote…”
Written by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley (who wonderfully directs this new production) and Eddie Braben, The Play What I Wrote is best described as a love-letter to Morecambe & Wise and homage to the classic British comedy double acts of the past. This charming play is filled with physical comedy, puns for days and jokes-a-plenty.
Dennis Herdman stars as ‘Dennis’, bringing a cheeky charm and lovable rogue sensibility to the character, who is perfectly paired with the fabulously prickly Thom Tuck as ‘Thom’, whose exasperated demeanor is amusing throughout. Both actors have great chemistry and bounce off each other wonderfully.
Also starring Mitesh Soni as ‘Arthur & Others’, who punctuates the show with increasingly absurd and hilarious appearances. My favorite being his performance as “award-winning producer David Pugh”, who incidentally is the actual producer of the show.
The Play What I Wrote has a very interesting selling point, in that every performance, the cast are joined onstage by a mystery guest star.
Previous mystery guest stars have included Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue, Nigel Havers, Denise Welch, Sir Ian McKellen, Dawn French, Sting and many more.
The mystery guest star at my performance was, none other than, Hollywood star Tom Hiddleston, which was an absolute thrill to see. He gamely joined in on the farcical hijinks and endured many jokes made at his expense. I can see why celebrities would love to appear, because it seems like a whale of a time is to be had.
The staging of this show is simple yet effective, littered with visual gags, aided by clever lighting choices by lighting designer Tim Mitchell.
The Play What I Wrote is farcically funny and deliciously punny; a good old-fashioned time at the theatre as well as a loving homage to a bygone era of comedic greats. Go see it!
The Play What I Wrote is playing the Theatre Royal Bath until 22nd January 2022, before heading off to play Shrewsbury, Salford, Chichester, Malvern, Cambridge and Sheffield.
Tickets & more info – https://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/event/the-play-what-i-wrote/
Photo credits – Manuel Harlan & Geraint Lewis