Horsham’s Jack Lane brings his tribute to Norman Wisdom to his home-town stage at The Capitol for a final time on Friday, September 28.
Wisdom of a Fool opened at The Capitol three years ago this September; now, after considerable success, Jack feels it is time to move on.
“We started in Horsham and it just ballooned from there,” recalls Jack.
“I started touring it in 2016. The Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford were the first to pick it up, and then I personally booked about ten theatres, which was extremely stressful, but it went incredibly well. It was so well received. I was so proud of it.
“A producer then picked it up and booked it for 2017 going into 2018, so it has been sporadically touring for two and a bit years now. I will have played about 50 theatres. It has gone all over the place.”
Its success, Jack feels, reflects Norman Wisdom’s standing: “Norman Wisdom is still a huge name. I don’t underestimate that. In the ’50s he was a massive name and a lot of people still know who he was.
“But what I think people also like is that this is the classic underdog story and the British have a love affair with that. He went from complete poverty to being one of the highest-paid comedians in the country. This guy went from stealing food to eat at the age of six to headlining at the Palladium. It is a remarkable story.
“I think a big part of his success was his timing. He had sublime comic timing. His slapstick physical comedy was also sublime, and I think he just really shines on stage. He is such a high-octane character that the stage really works for him.
“Also, that kind of physical comedy, like Chaplin, is universal.
“But now I have only got two venues left, Horsham and Ipswich, and then I am going to put it to bed. I have been working on other projects. I have been touring Dad’s Army Radio Hour. I have just come off a huge tour of that. The basic premise is that Dad’s Army did three radio series. The show is myself and another actor, David Benson. It is just the two of us and we voice the entire cast and all the other characters. I basically do Mainwaring, Jones and Pike, and David does Godfrey, Fraser and Wilson.
“We went on a huge spring tour that played 50 theatres. That was three months touring. We have just done Edinburgh again and then we did a week on a Saga cruise. And now we are going back on an autumn tour and then next year we are going to London with it.”
Jack, however, will continue to live in Horsham.
“I am just in the throes of buying my first flat,” he explains.
“I love Horsham. It is my home. I am comfortable there. London is great, but not all the work is in London. There is this pressure to live in London for an actor, but it has never really had a great pull for me. I am a Sussex boy!”
Wisdom of a Fool starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £18.50. Call the box office on 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.
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