Wisdom of a Fool, 5 Stars

Wisdom of a Fool
LOST Theatre
8th to 11th March 2017

“Norman Wisdom dominated British film and theatre during the 1950s, playing to packed audiences across the country. For more than six decades Norman’s warmth and boundless energy won the hearts of millions. His cloth cap, ill-fitting suit and classic underdog character led Charlie Chaplin to describe him as his ‘favourite clown’. Norman Wisdom now returns to the stage in Jack Lane’s acclaimed emotional roller-coaster one-man play, now on UK tour in 2016-7”.

In Wisdom of a Fool, Jack Lane takes you behind Norman Wisdom’s well-known character to reveal a tough and lonely childhood. After joining the Army, Wisdom discovers a passion for comedy; and the world of post-war Music Hall and Variety embraces Norman’s manic slapstick routine, catapulting him to stardom in the early 1950s. Success on the silver screen, including the hit song, ‘Don’t Laugh at Me’, seals his fame. But fame comes at a price… Jack plays 30 characters throughout this tour de force performance. The Gump costume that features in the play belonged to Norman and has been generously loaned to the production by his son and daughter, Nicholas and Jacqueline Wisdom.

Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars

This is not a small Fringe Production. With behind the scenes wizardry shuttling props on and off the stage and making Set pieces miraculously unveil themselves, this show barely fits into the respectably sized LOST Theatre.

The atmospheric lighting adds to the mood changes as Jack Lane introduces us to Norman Wisdom’s adversities through childhood and upwards as he takes job after job across the nation before joining the army. It’s enlightening that someone who portrays such a cheerful persona on stage and screen actually had so much to endure on his journey to fame. Starting out in children’s foster homes, seperated from his brother, and achieving top billing on the Silver Screen and the Palladium.

If anyone wants inspiration to keep going and follow your dream you’d do well to go see “Wisdom of a Fool”.

Everything comes together nicely in this production. The staging, the blocking, the Lighting (David Phillips), the Sound (Daniel Barnes), along with Jack’s split second timing on trips, falls and changing in and out of 30 different characters along the way. All sensitively brought together and packaged beautifully.

With only 4 days of performances there’s only a small window of opportunity to pop along to catch this gem of a show!


Photo Credit: Engine Shed

Watch the trailer: Click here

Writer/Performer: Jack Lane
Additional material: Martyn Bell
Music and direction: Kenny Clayton
Producers: Engine Shed and David Phillips
Performance Dates:
March 8th 2017 – March 11th 2017
Wednesday – Saturday, 7.30pm
matinee Saturday at 3pm

LOST Theatre, 208 Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 2JU

Ticket Price £20

Box Office LOST Theatre (losttheatre.co.uk), 020 7720 6897

Website (wisdomofafoolplay.co.uk)

Twitter (twitter.com/WisdomFoolPlay)

Trailer (youtube.com/watch?v=tk8-fjxT5fQ)