From the very young to the most senior of audience members, the show raised smiles from the offset as actor/ dancer/ comedian Ewan Wardrop delivered a charismatic choreographed one-man show performance of Formby’s life and times.
Based on George Formby’s home truths appearance on the BBC’s Friday Show in late 1960, Ewan retold the entertainer’s life and times through song, dance and interpretations of George, his parents and his wife Beryl.
The result was a fast, furiously funny, and highly energetic with a hint of tragicomedy taking the audience back to Formby’s early days as an awkward young jockey before opting for a career in music hall.
Other highlights, included Ewan’s impersonation of German spies observing Formby playing to UK troops during World War II and recreating a classic film scene, where Formby famously knocked the Fuhrer’s block off.
The show also looked closely at George and Beryl’s changing relationship, including Beryl’s controlling of her husbands career before her health deteriorated with leukaemia.
As an encore Ewan stepped out to allow Ben, a member of the audience to have a moment of glory by playing the ukulele, while Ewan himself performed one final favourite Auntie Maggie’s Remedy.
Formby has now ended its run, but I hope at least one performance of the talented Ewan Wardrop recreating the magic and comedy of George Formby for stage may at least have been immortalised for a future DVD release, as this show certainly deserves much wider acclaim.
- A shorter version of this review appeared in The South Wales Argus.