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AND THIS IS MY FRIEND... MR LAUREL
On from 05 Oct 2013 till 05 Oct 2013
Tabard Theatre
by Gail Louw & Jeffrey Holland
Genre(s): Comedy

Tickets: £10 - £12

About: AND THIS IS MY FRIEND... MR LAUREL

Fondly remembered for the parts he played in a string of iconic British sitcoms from the late-1970s onwards, including Dad's Army, It Ain't Half Hot Mum, You Rang M'Lord?, Oh Doctor Beeching! and Hi-De-Hi!, Jeffrey Holland is now bringing the great Stan Laurel – one half of celebrated comedy double act Laurel and Hardy – to life in this new stage production.

On a visit to the sick bed of an ailing Oliver Hardy, Stan recounts their past success as the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy. Written by playwright Gail Louw, along with Mr. Holland himself – and over two years in-the-making – this in-depth look at the much-loved comedian, who died in 1965 at the age of 74, is a humorous and touching look at the finest comedy double act of their generation.

He formally trained at The Birmingham School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art after which he went onto The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry during which time Jeff played many roles, including Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Alexas in Anthony and Cleopatra and Mr Laver in Chase Me Comrade.

In the autumn of 1975, Jeff joined the cast of the musical stage version of Croft and Perry’s hit sitcom Dad’s Army in which he took over the role of Cockney spiv Private Walker. This was then the catalyst for him to be cast in future Croft and Perry roles, which led him to stardom.

His first lead role was in pantomime Robinson Crusoe at The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham where he took over the main role of Frankie Howerd who slipped on the way to the theatre. Further leading theatre roles followed including West End productions and pantomimes in which Jeff is now heralded as one of the UK’s top five leading Dames.

His TV debut came in the form of a small role in the popular Saturday night police drama series Dixon of Dock Green and was quickly followed by a guest appearance in some episodes of the original ATV soap Crossroads. Other performances of note came in The Mayor of Casterbridge with Alan Bates, and several supporting roles in Croft and Perry’s Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum which undoubtedly contributed to Jeff’s invitation to audition for the role of Spike in Hi de Hi. Jeff’s creation of the lovable, well meaning and somewhat naive camp comedian, was to make him a household name. He went on to follow Spike with the completely contrasting and wonderfully pompous and pious portrayal of the stuffy footman James Twelvetrees in the equally popular Croft and Perry sitcom You Rang M’Lord and the starchy station master Cecil Parkin from the David Croft, Richard Spendlove series Oh Dr Beeching.

Most recently, Jeff has completed a number of UK tours. First as the Reverend Humphrey in the hilarious Philip King farce See How They Run which he immediately followed with the hugely successful eight month, 25th Anniversary stage tour of Allo Allo. This resulted in him receiving great critical acclaim for his portrayal of Rene.

Following his exploits as war hero Rene Artois, Jeff was delighted to star as George Findley in Victoria Wood's play Talent. Directed by the author herself, the show previewed at The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness before transferring to The Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark where it enjoyed a successful two month run.

He returned to Pantoland, to end last year as Felicity Fitz Warren in Dick Whittington at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

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"AND THIS IS MY FRIEND... MR LAUREL"

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