Review: Formby

PUBLISHED: 17:41 20 April 2014

Ewan Wardrop as George Formby

Ewan Wardrop as George Formby


Trends come and go, but Ewan Wardrop’s magical one-man George Formby biopic show is proof that talent - not topic - is the key to entertainment.

110 years after the birth of the musical hall star, Wardrop’s performance at the Norwich Playhouse brought him back to life and then some, in a delightful mix of song, dance, self-referential humour and skilful staging.

As well as taking on the central role of Formby, Wardrop frequently takes a turn as his fearsome wife Beryl - including a brilliant and tightly choreographed scene where the eponymous star’s ukelele playing merges with his spouse’s tap moves. He takes on half-a-dozen other incidental characters too, most noticeably a comic German duo trying to comprehend one of Formby’s many performances to the Allied forces during the Second World War.

Wardrop uses all his talents here: his background as a dancer with Matthew Bourne’s company shines through, but so do his acting and comic abilities - plus of course the musical talent to reprise songs like Little Stick of Blackpool Rock, Leaning On A Lampost and When I’m Cleaning Windows.

Ed Hughes’ direction is spot on too: creatively using shadows, props and a spartan set without ever feeling intrusively tricksy.

This is no mere nostalgia trip. This is a perfectly-executed entertaining and original show.

Formby can be also be seen at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds on May 7 and 8.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Eastern Daily Press visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Eastern Daily Press staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Eastern Daily Press account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Commented

Latest from the EDP

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 7°C

Listen to the latest weather forecast

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the EDP
digital edition