THE fascinating relationships of some of the UK’s biggest comedy double acts has been explored by many TV documentaries and newspaper columns, and next month a Jedburgh actor adds an on-stage perspective at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Sean Hanlon will make his debut at the festival alongside Martyn Grahame – also the play’s writer – in comedy drama Double Act.
Originally based on Morecambe and Wise, the show is set in the 1970s, but has developed since it first appeared earlier this year at Newcastle College – where the former Jedburgh Grammar student has just completed an acting degree.
The 23-year-old said: “Last August Martyn asked me to take part in a film idea as part of his course.
“But as it developed he decided to scrap the film for the time being and take it on as a play.
“For the first show we had to learn to tap dance and sing.
“We invited reviewers along and their feedback was that they wished to know more about the characters in their private lives.
“So Martyn decided to write a completely new script and I think we have achieved what the reviewers wanted last time.”
Sean plays Eddie Adams while Martyn stars as Arthur Douglas, who is preparing to retire.
Through the eyes of Arthur, the audience learn of an alternative world and the pressures that comes with being a performer.
Explaining his role, Sean added: “Eddie is the straight man of the duo, much like Ernie Wise.
“In real life he is a fool and a very nervous character. However, he loves to entertain.
“The character has changed since we first performed the play in Newcastle.
“We are given homework to do on our characters each week by our producer. Usually on stage the audience is called the fourth wall, but in this show we are very interactive.”
The original show had mixed audience figures at Newcastle, but Sean is hopeful Double Act can pack the intimate Surgeon’s Hall venue next month.
“One of the performances at Newcastle saw 10 people in the audience,” Sean said. “Six left halfway through and we were shouting at them: “We are not that bad!”
“That left our director, two classmates and a person who had seen the show the previous night.
“But on the last night the theatre was full. We are in a 55-seat venue in Edinburgh so hopefully we can fill it.
“Hopefully, people do not think ‘Here is a bunch of students who know nothing’ and instead our youth is seen as a selling point.
“I know my family will be coming up from Jedburgh and they are right behind us.”
Taking their show to the festival is a step into the unknown for Sean and his young companions – Sean being the oldest in the Junction 2 Productions team behind Double Act.
He added: “None of us has taken a show to Edinburgh before. We have heard from our tutors what it to expect and we know we are taking a risk. but we have to do it.
“We hope that if we go to other people’s shows they will come to ours. There is another actor from Jedburgh called Iain Rutherford, who is in a show called Fetch so we will go to see his performance, and vice versa.”
Double Act starts at 6.10pm every night from August 5 to 27 (apart from Sundays) and tickets are priced at £7 (£6 concessions).
To book, phone 0131 226 0000 or visit www.edfringe.com