Last August Jeff fulfilled a long-time ambition when he trod the boards as one of the worlds best loved comedy stars, Stan Laurel. He portrayed his idol in a new one-man play ‘….And this is my friend Mr Laurel’ co-written by the award-winning playwright Gail Louw and Jeff himself. The play debuted on Wednesday 21st August, at Upstairs At The Gatehouse and running until Sunday 25th August. The production then played at The Tabard Theatre in October. Such has been the response that Jeff is now touring the country with this amazing piece of theatre.
Set in Oliver Hardy’s bedroom, the action takes place as Laurel pays a visit to his sick friend, recounting their past success as one of the greatest cinematic partnerships of the century and providing an in depth, humorous and touching account of the comedian’s life.
Jeff’s fascination for Laurel and Hardy began as a small boy at the Saturday morning cinema picture show but
with the passage of time, Jeff’s interest in this legendary double act took a back seat temporarily until the early 70’s when BBC2 began regular screenings of the pair, which rekindled the spark for Jeff. A talented mimic, Stan soon began to feature regularly among his impressions and who could forget the classic episode of Hi de Hi when Jeff joined forces with the much loved and missed Paul Shane as Oliver Hardy to complete the team. During this period Jeff also discovered The Sons of the Desert, the official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society of which he is now an honorary member.
In 1983 Jeff was invited to Ulverston in Lancashire, the birthplace of Stan Laurel where he opened the Laurel and Hardy Museum, an event that filled him with great pride but for some time now his thoughts have never been far from paying his own tribute to the comedian in the form of a one-man show.
After two years in the planning, the dream is now a reality with this wonderfully crafted piece sure to delight.