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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

REVIEW: The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel at HOME, Manchester

Told By An Idiot, The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel is a slapstick, made up story set in 1910, created around a picture with Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin on their way to America as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe. On this journey, Charlie and Stan shared a cabin and then spent two years together touring North America, with Stan as Charlie’s understudy. This show is a take on their meeting on the boat during this time. 

I went to see this show during its run at the HOME theatre in Manchester. A nice small proscenium arch stage with a 3-tiered seated theatre. Sat in the middle of the stalls I had a fantastic view, but I believe that the view would be good no matter where you sit at this theatre. When you walk into the auditorium the house music is 1920’s type flapper music, setting the feel of the time and the ‘silent movie’ theme.

This show is mainly silent, using quips and slapstick humour from old silent movies for which Charlie Chaplin was famous for. There is no dialogue in the show, the only sound coming from the music, the physical movements and the occasional singing. It took me a moment to get into the silent mode of the show, however once I was in the zone, I found it very compelling and engaging, however I felt that I was taken from this slightly during the random musical singing moments.
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