Neil Simon’s classic play The Sunshine Boys comes to the Liverpool stage this summer, with two of the city’s best known theatre actors taking the roles of feuding double act Lewis and Clark.
Andrew Schofield and Alan Stocks, last seen together in Mam, I’m ‘Ere at Christmas, will be reunited again for the show’s run at the Epstein Theatre in August.
The Sunshine Boys centres on fading stars Al Lewis and Willie Clark, a one-time vaudevillian double-act who throughout their 40 year career grew to hate and despise each other. The show is set in 1972, as CBS invite the comedy duo to be reunited for a nostalgic TV special. Forced together once again, their old rivalry resurfaces and hilarious shenanigans occur as they prepare to take centre stage for one final time.
Alan Stocks said “What could be better than having the chance to work on a wonderful Neil Simon script and getting to do it with a talented group of friends! I’ve always loved vaudeville, and this play is a wonderful tribute to a lost art, as well as examining how one generation must inevitably make way for the next…however much they may wish the show could go on.”
Neil Simon is considered to be one of the greatest writers of American comedy. Perhaps best known for The Odd Couple, he penned more than 30 plays and over 20 screenplays over the course of his career, and received more Tony Award nominations than any other writer in history.
A popular stage favourite and a celebration of the lost art of vaudeville, The Sunshine Boys made its Broadway debut in 1974 and was nominated for several Tony Awards; an equally successful film adaption followed. It was revived in the West End, starring Danny DeVito and the late Richard Griffiths, last year.
It’s another production from Life in Theatre, which will follow on from the company’s second run of The Last 5 Years at the Epstein in June. For producer Stephen Fletcher, it’s a chance to showcase two Broadway favourites back-to-back.
He says: “Both The Last 5 Years and The Sunshine Boys are so funny, entertaining, tender, and moving. I want to give people an escape to somewhere as exciting as New York. Both plays offer a rare blend of realism, humour and seriousness which I think audiences will easily identify with.
“There’s such great history to the Epstein too – perfect for the link with vaudeville in The Sunshine Boys and just the right size for the intimacy needed for The Last 5 Years.”
The Sunshine Boys runs from August 15 to September 7. A special double deal for the show and The Last 5 Years is available now at £30 for the two. To book call 0844 888 4411, visit epsteinliverpool.co.uk or book in person at the theatre box office.
Picture: Collette Rawlinson