Stan - the brains behind duo

Jefrey Holland as Stan Laurel
Jefrey Holland as Stan Laurel
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... And This is My Friend Mr Laurel is a work of passion from one of 1980s’ TV’s favourite faces.

Jeffrey Holland, most recognised from Hi-de-Hi!, brings this one-man play to Thornton Little Theatre tonight.

A lot of people don’t know the details of his life

The show pays tribute to Stan Laurel, one half of the beloved comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, a man Jeffrey’s long held in high regard.

“A lot of people don’t know the details of his life,” he said. “People think he is this little twit on screen, but he was the brains behind the operation; he wrote and devised the comedy and virtually directed all the films, even though there were directors credited for them.

“At the end of the day filming, Oliver Hardy went to play golf, while Stan went into the cutting room and did the editing and made sure it was put together.

“He made twice as much money, but Oliver was happy with that because he did the work.”

The national tour comes on the back of two sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival and is set in the bedroom of a sick Oliver Hardy, as Stan visits his dying friend and they recount their successes.

“The play is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Jeffrey added. “I watched them when I was growing up and I loved the characters - they became my ‘friends’.

“And becoming an actor, they came back to me and rekindled my love.

“When people started doing one man shows, I thought how wonderful it would be about Stan Laurel - and no one had done a one-man show about half a double act.

“I had researched it already as I had all the books and most of the DVDs about them it was all inside me to begin with, until I got Gail Louw on board as a writer and I shared it with her.”

• And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel, Thornton Little Theatre, tonight, 7.30pm. Call (01253) 887693 for tickets, £14.