The Play What I Wrote is a comedy play which was written by famous playwrights Hamish McColl, Sean Foley, and Eddie Braben. The director of this play was Kenneth Branagh. The Play What I Wrote is inspired by Britain’s greatest-ever double act, Morecambe and Wise. In the 1970s, their television shows enjoyed regular viewing figures of over twenty-five million in the U.K. – half the population at the time – and to this day their sublime comedy is enjoyed in repeats and on video by thousands of fans, ensuring them a permanent place in the hearts of the British public.
Morecambe and Wise – Double Act
Eric Morecambe was born John Eric Bartholomew in 1926, in the Northern seaside town of Morecambe, the son of a laborer. Ernie Wise grew up in Leeds, the son of a railway worker. They made their debut in 1941 at the Liverpool Empire but ten years later, their most celebrated sketch writer Eddie Braben remembers them ‘still so far down the bill that their names were smaller than the printers.’ But they stuck at it.
Hard work in time gave their comedy the superb lightness that became their hallmark. When they were asked years later for the reason of their huge success, their answer was simple: ‘rehearsal’.
Sean Foley and Hamish McColl started out in 1987. They cut their teeth as a double-act just as Eric and Ernie had done years before them, touring up and down Britain in a transit van to huge public indifference. They too stuck at it, touring to over twenty-five countries with over ten different comic theatre shows that built them an international reputation for making people laugh. It was a colorful time; in Tibet, Oman, they played to an exclusively male audience, who sported fine mustaches but worryingly large daggers; in Skopje, Macedonia, they played the truly frightening Stalinist House of Youth, and in Calcutta they entertained an audience, which included a dozen nuns, for forty minutes in a blackout. They shared the bill with Steve Martin at the Aspen Comedy Festival and are still trying to live up to The Times of India’s assessment of them as ‘the most hilarious experience ever witnessed’.
Sir Roger Moor Official Website
A world apart from Morecambe and Wise, yet the same.
The Cast Of Play What I Wrote
SEAN FOLEY (Sean) has created comedy with Hamish McColl since 1988. He has co-written and performed in all their theatre shows, touring internationally with, among others, Moose, Bewilderness, Flight to Finland, and the Olivier Award-winning Do You Come Here Often?
Hamish McColl Biography
HAMISH McCOLL (Hamish) has worked with Sean Foley since 1988, co-writing and performing in all their productions, including Stop Calling Me Vernon and Do You Come Here Often?, their show about two men who get stuck in a bathroom for twenty-five years, for which they won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment in 1999, before transferring to the West End and New York. In their co-production with the Almeida Theatre of Brecht’s Mr. Puntila and his Man Matti, he played Mr. Puntila.
The show played at the Traverse Edinburgh and the Almeida before transferring to the West End. With Sean, he has written comedy for radio, including The Kodo Finish, The Remains of Foley and McColl and the forthcoming Foley and McColl – The Interview(BBC Radio 4 – March 2003). As an actor, television work includes: “The Fitz,” “Peak Practice,” “Prime Suspect” and recent films: The Reckoning, Gypsy Woman and Knit your Own Karma.
Toby Jones Biography
TOBY JONES (Hamish) For his performance as ‘Arthur’ in the London West End production of The Play What I Wrote, he won the 2002 Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He has performed in theatres throughout Britain and has worked with The Right Size before in The Right Size and Riverside’s production of Cabin Fever. Theatre credits include The Walls at the Royal National Theatre (RNT), The Nativity at the Young Vic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Almeida and on tour, King Lear, A Servant of Two Masters and The Government Inspector at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Out of a House Walked a Naked Man for Theatre de Complicite and the RNT.
He is a founder member of The Table Show, for which he has written and performed in Wanted Man at the BAC and on tour, Coventry at the RNT, The Reprieve at the BAC and Missing Reel at the Traverse. Television includes: “The Way We Live Now,” “Victoria and Albert,” “The Aristocrats,” “Out of Hours,” “Death of a Salesman” and “Henry IV.” Film work includes: Never Land, Orlando, Ever After, Hotel Splendide, Simon Magus, Joan of Arc and Les Miserables. He also gives voice to Dobby the House Elf in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.
JAY RUSSELL (Understudy, Arthur). Broadway Debut. Nat’l Tours: Beauty and the Beast – Lumiere; Applausew/Stefanie Powers. Off B’way: The Green Heart (MTC); Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh; Pearl Theatre. Regional includes: Gross Indecency – Oscar, An Ideal Husband, Fully Committed(Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); Importance of Being Earnest, Mystery of Irma Vep (Cincinnati Playhouse); Midsummer Night’s Dream – Bottom (Utah Shakespearean Festival); Anything Goes opposite Sandy Duncan (Ordway Theatre). Co-star and co-writer of An Evening with Burton & Russell. TV: “Law and Order,” “Spin City.” Special thanks to Don.
EDDIE BRABEN (Writer) sold his first joke to Charlie Chester for two shillings and sixpence in 1960. He spent twelve years writing for Ken Dodd, whom he considers to be the greatest stand-up comedian of all time. This was followed by fourteen years writing for Eric and Ernie, the greatest double act of all time (Eddie feels privileged to have been a part of this memorable chapter in British comedy).
His work on the Morecambe and Wise shows have earned him five Writer of the Year awards from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, as well as a BAFTA Award shared with Eric, Ernie and producer John Ammonds. His wife Diedre was a former member of the George Mitchell Singers. They have three children, Graham, Jane and Clare. Eddie claims that when he was writing his contribution to The Play What I Wrote he could hear two men laughing and one of them removed his horn-rimmed specs and said ” Now that’s funny.” Says Eddie: “I do hope he’s right.”