Comic genius remembers in The Man Called Monkhouse

the man called monkhouse

It was deemed a catastrophe when it happened. Comic and game show host Bob Monkhouse had recorded a lifetime’s gags in dozens of notebooks – and they’d been stolen.

It was July 1995, and, alone in the cramped study of his beautiful Bedfordshire home, among thousands of showbusiness artefacts, film stock and memories, the showbiz legend discovered the awful truth.

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 Monkhouse divided the viewing public.

Among the 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 tan, the cuff, the wink and the obsessive, Cahoots Theatre Company’s production enjoyed sell-out shows and five star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and is now set for an autumn tour.

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, Cartwright has performed on numerous TV shows including Opportunity Knocks with Mr Monkhouse himself and later on Sky Star Search and Who Do You Do? 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 whose 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.

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 is best known for playing 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.

2015 Tour Dates

September 5, Severn Theatre, Shrewsbury
September 18, Court Theatre, Tring
September 28/29, Royal and Derngate, Northampton
October 3, Lighthouse Theatre, Poole
October 4, The Place, Bedford
October 16/17, Devonshire Park,Eastbourne

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