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Jiggery Pokery:  The Life and Times of Charles Hawtrey

Unity Theatre, Liverpool
November 11 – November 14 (Then Touring)

Author: Bryony Lavery
Director: Paul Hunter
Producer: Kneehigh Theatre (Commissioned by: Homotopia; BAC and The Corn Exchange, Newbury).
Cast Includes: Amanda Lawrence

Running Time: 1 hr 25 Mins




Charles Hawtrey -  one of Britain's best loved comedy actors.

Unity Theatre Liverpool - official website

Given Amanda Lawrence’s striking resemblance of comedy legend Charles Hawtrey, it’s quite possible that was born to play  him in this World Premier production that gets the 2009 Homotopia Festival off to a flyer. Frenetic from start to finish, it easy to see how Lawrence landed the role and the manner in which Lawrence embodies each of the fifty or so other characters that made up varying parts of the Carry On actor’s life – including Pater Pan, a fireman by the name of Barry Bullock, Hawtrey’s mother and a particularly cruel Sid James – is simply astonishing. Not only does she live the roles, Lawrence sweats, breathes and at times cries them out of her system.

The use of backing tapes from Hawtrey’s films over which Lawrence mimes dialogue, is masterly and proves that the original comedy is not only timeless, but that it was created through painstaking rehearsal.

The set is simple, a manifestation of Hawtrey’s cluttered, drink-sodden existence, filled with junk that would make Steptoe blush. Yet in taking the simplest item, such as tea-pot or a lampshade, they become transformed in an instant into something quite different, thanks to Lawrence’s exquisite touch and manner.

If there is one complaint, it is that at just short of ninety minutes it may be around ten minutes too long. But this is being picky because without doubt Jiggery Pokery is as funny as it is moving and is a fine tribute to one of Britain’s best-loved comedy actors, despite all the faults that bedevilled him at the end of his life.

Chris High

  • 17 & 18 November - Tobacco Factory Bristol
  • 19 - 21 November - Warrick Arts Centre
  • 24 & 25 November - New Greenham Arts Newbury
  • 26 - 28 November - Royal Exchange Studio Manchester
  • 1-19 December - BAC London

Link: Unity Theatre Liverpool official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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