Laurel and Chaplin, as scored by Rahman (Wilton’s, 14-18 Jan)

Peter Bacon reports: It’s called The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel, and it’s not only strange but plays loose with reality. As the small print states: “The events in this play are fictional. This play is certainly not endorsed by the estates of Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel or anyone else for that matter!”

A scene from The Strange Case… Publicity photo

But fiction is more likely to result in a good time, which is what, it seems, the company Told By An Idiot, regularly delivers. “Anarchically inclusive joy… I now believe in the transformative power of theatre,” is what The Sunday Times’ reviewer thought of their Get Happy, and “Their work is never less than sublime” was the view of the Independent. On top of all that, there is a piano score by Zoe Rahman, played live every night. The official blurb for this show, which is a co-production by Told By An Idiot and Theatre Royal Plymouth and comes to Wilton’s in London’s East End for seven performances between 14 and 18 January 2020, goes like this: “In 1910 the unknown Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel set sail for New York as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe. On this journey, Charlie and Stan  shared a cabin and then spent two years together touring North America, with Stan  as  Charlie’s understudy. Stan returned  home, later finding success with his soulmate Oliver Hardy. Charlie developed his Little Tramp character and within five years became one of the most famous figures in the world. “In Charlie Chaplin’s highly detailed autobiography Stan Laurel is never mentioned. “Stan talked about Charlie all his life. “Playing fast and loose with the facts and with an original piano score composed by Mercury Award Nominee Zoe Rahman played live each night,  The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel  is no nostalgic bio-drama, but a hilarious and deeply moving homage to two men who changed the world of comedy forever.” It’s part of the London International Mime Festival. LINK: The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel at Wilton’s

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