Double Act

The comedy double act is as old as theatre itself. It is a style that comes down to us from the Greeks and is as strong today as it ever was. Double Act attempts to take a look at the pressures of involvement in one of these popular acts. Unfortunately, although the concept is an interesting one, the show never gets more impressive than the music hall in which most of these acts begin. The show follows 70’s comedy duo Morcambe and Wise- I mean Douglas and Adams- on their last show of the touring season. It jumps around attempting to look at all the elements of the duo’s difficult life on tour, from their first experience as a comedy pair to their most recent tour. As we experience the pains of being on the road, we are introduced to sideman and producer Ronnie Stature (‘cause he’s short) and the pair’s partners. There are some well-performed moments here. Arthur Douglas is portrayed with a great amount of energy and precision by Martyn Grahame. The awkward and physical humour of the lanky comic is delivered perfectly and garners the only genuine laughs of the show. The lighting is also used effectively to bring us into the asides that the actors address to the audience. Unfortunately, although Grahame gave an excellent performance, the rest of the cast were bland and uninteresting. This was particularly true of the other half of the double act: Eddie Adams, portrayed by Sean Hanlon. The actor built no rapport with the audience, with his comic partner or with his wife. The only element blander than his performance was the relationship between the pair’s spouses, Shirley Douglas and Joanne Spencer. On top of these performance issues, the show had direction problems. The focus of the play, the double act’s performance, was boring and had only a passing resemblance to the great double acts of the 70’s. This show also contained the worst fake punch ever to be seen on stage. Even worse, the attempts to interact with the audience by standing behind or among them felt forced and had no basis.This double act has about half the entertainment of value of one comic. You have been warned.

The Blurb

1972: Imagine a world without Morecambe and Wise? Step forward Arthur Douglas and Eddie Adams! A comedy drama exploring the pressures of performing and a life on tour. ‘Interesting story with a winning formula’ (PublicReviews.co.uk).