In July 1995, alone in his cramped study, among thousands of showbusiness artefacts, film stock and memories the comic legend Bob Monkhouse realises his treasured joke books have been stolen. This is something of a disaster in the world of the obsessive performer and joke-smith. As the reality of the situation sinks in, he is forced into an uneasy introspection. The Man Called Monkhouse traces his life through a difficult childhood, via the vertiginous heights of television superstardom, the dent in his status during the ‘new wave’ comedy of the late ‘80s and finishes with a re-born Bob, back on TV and finally feted as the comic genius he undoubtedly was.
Regarded as a man with a ‘Teflon’ showbiz veneer, at the height of his fame Bob Monkhouse divided the viewing public. Among many accolades that were bestowed upon him, he was simultaneously voted Most Loved and Most Hated Entertainer in a 1978 TV poll. Alex Lowe (Barry From Watford BBC Radio 4) writes and Bob Golding (Olivier Award winning – Morecambe) directs Simon Cartwright in the part he was born to play. The Man Called Monkhouse is an affectionate, funny and moving exploration of the life and personality of one of this country’s best loved and possibly most misunderstood comedians.
Since attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Simon Cartwright has performed on numerous TV shows including Opportunity Knocks with Mr Monkhouse himself and later on Sky Star Search ITV, Pot of Gold ITV, and Who Do You Do? ITV/SKY. He also contributed to The Monkhouse Amuseum for Radio 4 Xtra. In the eighties Simon formed a double act with Alistair McGowan appearing at the London Comedy Store as the McCarthy Boys and subsequently performing all over the UK. Bob Monkhouse is a large part of Simon’s life and he has often been invited to speak on broadcast documentaries on Bob’s life. More notably Simon was the voice of ‘Bob’ on the Prostate cancer campaign TV commercial that ‘brought Bob back from the grave’ in 2007. Simon formed a friendship with Bob Monkhouse and over the years Bob followed Simon’s career with great interest once proclaiming “You do me better than I do”.
Alex Lowe is a writer and actor who’s previous writing credits for Edinburgh include Shooting from the New Hip in 2013 and Let’s Get On With It in 2006, both for the Pleasance. As a solo performer, in 1998 he adapted and performed Simon Garfield’s book The Wrestling and in 1999 he adapted and performed Garfield’s book The Nation’s Favourite, both for the Pleasance. His TV writing credits include. Maracattack with Miranda Hart, Common Ground for Sky Atlantic, The Watson and Oliver Show BBC, Paul O’Grady Live ITV, The Big Impression BBC. Other writing credits include: two plays for BBC Radio 4 Drama; My Pregnancy Test and The Block. He also wrote from 2003-4 for Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Jamie Theakston’s Heart Breakfast Show and regularly writes for Christian O’Connell’s Absolute Radio Breakfast Show. Since 2009, he has been written and performed as Barry from Watford for Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon. He is currently writing a series commissioned by Radio 4 Comedy called Barry’s Lunch Club in which he plays his own creation; Barry from Watford.
Bob Golding has had a varied career as an actor, a director and voice artist and musician. His theatre work is extensive and has taken him all around the country. Best known for his embodiment of Britain’s best loved comedian Eric Morecambe in Tim Whitnall’s Olivier Award winning play Morecambe for which he himself received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in an Entertainment. The original production of Morecambe premiered at the Assembly venue Rainy Hall at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was immediately snapped up for a West End run. It has since enjoyed two successful major tours. Bob also performed as Eric at the Royal Variety Show . His TV work includes, Mr Selfridge (ITV drama), Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got the Pop Factor & Possibly a New Soapstar Super Strictly on Ice, comedy sketch show Watson & Oliver. He has been co-host on Dave Gorman’s Sunday Morning Show on Absolute Radio and provided the voices of ‘Milo’ and ‘Max’ in BBC’s Tweenies. Bob was last at The Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 directing the play No Direction by Albert Welling.
THE MAN CALLED MONKHOUSE
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Court Theatre Pendley
Royal and Derngate
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