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Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy review at Greenside, Nicholson Square, Edinburgh – ‘gentle reminiscence’

Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy at Greenside at Nicholson Square, Edinburgh Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy at Greenside at Nicholson Square, Edinburgh

Despite its title, Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy is less about Stan and Ollie than about their fans, and serves as a reminder of an earlier time when some stars weren’t just admired and appreciated but warmly loved.

In the 1950s, their Hollywood careers over, Laurel and Hardy toured British music halls with an act built on familiar bits of business from their films, and found a fan base more loyal and ardent than in America.

Bearing only the vaguest of physical resemblances to Laurel and Hardy, David Leeson and Colin Alexander don’t make any real attempt at impersonation beyond a bit of tie-fluttering and head scratching and a half-hearted go at the Blue Ridge Mountains dance. 

Instead, Leeson and Alexander play two Manchester fans who worked in the theatre and had the opportunity not only to watch their idols on stage but to socialise with them, and the thrust of their reminiscences is the sheer pleasure of the stars’ company. 

In the process they offer brief biographies of the two, individually and as a team, amounting to little more than dates and names, and we might wish for more in the way of fact and anecdote.

But in Leeson and Alexander’s obvious affection for their subject, and the love they ascribe to the characters they play, Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy evokes the warmth between artists and audiences that a world of constant tweets and viral gossip has lost.

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A gentle reminiscence less about Stan and Ollie than about their fans’ love for them