Charlie and Stan by Told by an Idiot Productions.

Charlie and Stan tell the lesser-known story of when Fred Karno’s (Nick Haverson) music hall troupe set sail from Southampton to New York in 1910. Where two of the most famous and influential men in the world of comedy first met. Charlie Chaplin (Danielle Bird) and Stan Jefferson aka Stan Laurel (Jerome Marsh-Reid).

Chaplin often casts a lonely figure in the history books of “slapstick comedy”. However, aboard the ship Cairnrona. Chaplin forms a friendship with Laurel while the pair share a cabin aboard the ship. The pair become friends and practice performances together onboard.

The eighty-minute production offers fast-moving, silent movie-style comedy with the infamous red curtain notice board used for introducing announcements or information. Accompanied throughout with live music performed by award winning jazz musician Zoe Rahman.

The finely timed theatrical falls, slapstick drunken escapades, and an insight into the traumatic life led by the younger Chaplin are captivating and cleverly directed by Paul Hunter. Reconstructing slapstick comedy doesn’t appear to be an easy feat yet the performances of the cast came across effortlessly.

Even after over a hundred years, these comedy legends still live on and deserve to be enjoyed by future generations. Told by an Idiot Productions has respectfully kept their memories alive with their own company of comedy geniuses. Especially Bird in the insightful and empathetic role of Chaplin, I can only begin to imagine the hours spent studying the late and great silent movie genius.

Oliver Hardy performed by (Nick Haverson) as well. Transformed into a character on stage before us, and although the audience knew who it was, his entrance was well received. No performance of Stan Laurel would be complete without his appearance. Although brief, just enough information to know how the famous double act met.

Charlie and Stan is a must-see production. I would encourage younger audiences to watch and marvel in the work created by Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy.

Four Stars.

For more information on this production and future productions coming to The Mast in Southampton please use the links below.


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