The Play What Has Run: London Comedy, The Play What I Wrote, Ends Bway Stand June 15

By Kenneth Jones
June 15, 2003

The Play What I Wrote, the loopy British comedy conceived by the double act of Hamish McColl and Sean Foley, ends its Broadway run at the Lyceum Theatre on June 15.

It will have played 27 previews and 89 performances. A tour has been mentioned, but nothing is firm about that as of the closing weekend.

An Olivier Award-winning sensation in the West End, The Play What I Wrote opened to mixed reviews on Broadway and failed to become the hit it was in London. It lost the Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event to Def Poetry Jam June 8, sealing its earlier-than-expected close.

During its short run, the show garnered much publicity from its string of "celebrity guests." Among them were Holly Hunter, Al Roker, Paul Rudd, Eric McCormack, Liam Neeson, Jeff Goldblum, Alan Alda, Jason Biggs, Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, Nathan Lane, Roger Moore and Zoe Caldwell.

The Play What I Wrote began its American premiere at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre March 7.

Kenneth Branagh directs the work of Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben, featuring actors McColl and Foley and Toby Jones on stage. The 2002 Olivier Award-winning play "revolves around Hamish, who no longer wants to be part of his comedy double act with Sean," according to production notes. "Instead, he wants to see the play he has written, A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple, properly mounted on the Broadway stage. But before this can happen, he needs a major star to play the supporting role to his lead role."

Diminutive Jones, who was the voice of Dobby the House Elf in the second "Harry Potter" movie, plays a crazed Gerald Schoenfeld (chairman of the Shubert Organization, which owns the Lyceum) and a character named Mike Tickles, based on American producer Mike Nichols, who was a producer of The Play What I Wrote.

The original London mounting was an homage to the famed-in-Britain-but mostly-unknown-in-the-U.S. comedy team of Ernie Wise and Eric Morecambe. Audiences in the U.S. and the U.K. reveled in old vaudeville of it all, with sketch comedy, bad puns, crossdressing and sight gags all a part of the mix.

The Lyceum is at 149 W. 45th Street. For ticket information, all (212) 239-6200.

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The show was originally produced at The Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.