A Told by an Idiot and Theatre Royal Plymouth Production presents

The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel

This event has passed, however you might also love our Homemakers series of experimental online theatre, or our upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, created by Filter Theatre. 

with Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Unity Theatre, Liverpool
Created by Told by an Idiot
Written & Directed by Paul Hunter
With additional material by the company

In 1910 the unknown Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel set sail for New York as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe. On this journey, Charlie and Stan shared a cabin and then spent two years together touring North America, with Stan as Charlie’s understudy. Stan returned home, later finding success with his soul-mate Oliver Hardy. Charlie developed his Little Tramp character and within five years became one of the most famous figures in the world.

In Charlie Chaplin’s highly detailed autobiography Stan Laurel is never mentioned.

Stan talked about Charlie all his life.

Playing fast and loose with the facts and with an original piano score composed by Mercury Award Nominee Zoe Rahman, The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel is no nostalgic bio-drama, but a hilarious and deeply moving homage to two men who changed the world of comedy forever.

Co commissioned by the London International Mime Festival.

We’re also holding a special Relaxed Performance (Autism Friendly): on Thursday 6 Feb at 2pm – book here for this special performance.

The events in this play are fictional. This play is certainly not endorsed by the estates of Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel or anyone else for that matter!

The production is accessible to D/deaf audiences. The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel is mainly without words, but does contain music and some short songs. Silent film style captions are used throughout to add detail to the action on stage.

★★★★ “Paul Hunter directs with a lightness of touch… There are plenty of moments that leave you open-mouthed… I found myself completely immersed myself in the sound of silence and mime… I left HOME smiling from ear to ear.” – I Love Manchester

“Amalia Vitale, as Chaplin, is totally charming and captures the innocent essence of Chaplin’s Tramp with a loveable persona that reaches right out to the back of the theatre… A charming slice of unusual live action with considerable appeal for the rest of us.” – Theatre Reviews North

★★★★ “[Director] Paul Hunter has written and directed a slice of true theatre which is engaging and unpredictable… Not so much strange as entrancing.” – North West End

“A 100-minute show without any spoken words that still tells a recognisable story is quite an achievement… I was never bored and it kept my attention… I certainly think it is worth seeing.” – British Theatre Guide

“Amalia Vitale’s tour de force performance captures brilliantly Chaplin’s mute take on the world… The action is riotous and joyful… whizzes and pops along at a fast pace and delights in its own absurdity.” – The Northern Quota

“Amalia Vitale as Chaplin charms the audience… We get a sense of who these comedy giants were through their slapstick, escapist humour, and why their genius continues to inspire performers today.” – Quays Life

★★★★ “One of the most revealing pieces of theatre you’re likely to see… Fun, innocent and perfectly executed, this production certainly ticks the boxes for all those in search of a very different, diverting and highly entertaining night out… A must see.” – Stagestruck

“The four members of cast blind you with their talent, be it mime, song, musicianship, comedy and pathos… The show keeps you spellbound as 1hr 40mins flies by.” – Honorary Manc

★★★★ “Paul Hunter’s direction betrays his decades of experience as director and performer of first-class stage comedy and it perfectly suits the slapstick style of this piece… For the most part, the way the company negotiates the lack of dialogue is ingenious… An affectionate and utterly charming tribute to two era-defining greats of comedy.” – Upstaged Manchester

“Amalia Vitale as Chaplin is compellingly watchable… A fun piece of theatre that makes for an entertaining night out with plenty of laughs.” – The Reviews Hub

“The time capsule production plays out a loving tribute to The Little Tramp and Stan Laurel, building on their legacy with an experimental live show that is silent but deadly through its execution. Conjures a reflective and inspiring reframing of the greats.” – 101Frances

“Has a curious truth to it that’s really compelling… The whole production exudes a spirited joy that is an awful lot of fun to watch… I’d recommend seeing this one if you can.” – She-Wolf Manchester

“A night reminiscent of an era when no words were needed to make someone laugh or feel… Simple yet dynamic.” – Mancunion

“A really pleasurable theatrical experience… A real joy to watch.” – Live Art Alive

“A wonderful homage to the world of the silent film era that evokes the spirit of that world… At times an affectionate portrayal with Amalia Vitale being the a delight as Chaplin, criminally stealing every scene she appears in.” – The Grouchy Critic

“A pleasant revisiting of these entertainment legends which recaptures some of their magic and manufactures some of its own.” – A Younger Theatre

“Effortlessly entertaining and moving; a fitting homage to two greats… An exquisite, anarchic bio-drama.” – FUSE FM

★★★★★ “Strictly speaking it is a mime show, but not as we know it… A riot of hilarious stage business and slapstick comedy.” – Musical Theatre Review

★★★★ “It [is] a delight to submerge oneself in the wordless world [Paul] Hunter and his company weave, powerfully summoning that moment when vaudeville and silent movies meet… Taken sketch by sketch, this fantasia on Chaplin and Laurel – all at sea, but on the precipice of superstardom – is seldom less than magical.” – The Guardian

★★★★ “This invention-stuffed and music-crammed show (hats off to tireless pianist Sara Alexander) delivers what mime does best – total clarity in terms of movement but an abiding mystery as to what’s fully being said… A treat, silly and sublime.” – Daily Telegraph

★★★★ “Told By An Idiot’s tribute to the masters of silent slapstick can’t help but leave the broadest of grins on its audience’s faces.” – The Reviews Hub

★★★★★ “Hilarious… [A] riotous masterclass in storytelling… Told By An Idiot brings an anarchic story to life with energetic glee.” – What’s On Stage

“Immensely charming… The performances are a delight.” – The Stage

  • Recommended age 10+
  • Content warnings – Some slapstick violence, but all done in a very comical way
  • Running time 1 hour 40 mins with no interval
  • £10 – £24 / conc. from £5
  • The production is accessible to D/deaf audiences. ‘The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel’ is mainly without words, but does contain music and some short songs. Silent film style captions are used throughout to add detail to the action on stage.
  • Relaxed performance on Thu 6 Feb, 14:00