Arts & Culture
The story of the greatest comedy duo that nearly was is celebrated in a silent show at Oxford Playhouse

By Tyler Ody


Renowned theatre company Told by an Idiot joins forces with Theatre Royal Bath and award-winning producer David Pugh to bring a little-known story of two of the greatest comics of the silent movie era to the stage. Charlie and Stan comes to Oxford Playhouse from Tuesday 5 to Saturday 9 October.

In 1910, the then unknown Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel set sail on board a tramp steamer from Liverpool to New York as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe. On the voyage, they shared a cabin, they shared comedy routines, they shared laughter, but by the end of the journey they hated each other. Little did they know that they would both go on to become two of the biggest stars of the age.

Inspired by real life events, Told by an Idiot’s acclaimed production of Charlie and Stan is the remarkable story of the greatest comedy double act that nearly was. With an original piano score played live at every performance, Charlie and Stan is a hilarious and deeply moving homage to two men who changed the world of comedy forever.

Told by an Idiot have garnered critical acclaim and devoted audiences worldwide for their wonderfully theatrical shows. With Charlie and Stan they have uncovered a hidden and poignant chapter of comedy history, shining an unusual light on a pair of show business legends.

Charlie Chaplin is played by Danielle Bird, Stan Laurel by Jerone Marsh-Reid, Fred Karno by Nick Haverson with other parts including Chaplin’s Mother and the piano played by Sara Alexander.

“I am thrilled that the Idiots are collaborating with David Pugh and Theatre Royal Bath to bring back our show ‘Charlie and Stan’. It is a piece that is very close to our hearts and, following successful UK and European dates pre-pandemic, we are delighted that audiences will once again get the chance to see our unique theatrical homage to two comedy giants.” Paul Hunter, Artistic Director of Told by an Idiot

Charlie and Stan is written and directed by Told by an Idiot’s Artistic Director Paul Hunter and designed by Ioana Curelea, with lighting design by Aideen Malone, video design by Dom Baker, original piano score by Mercury Award nominee Zoe Rahman and song arrangement by Sophie Cotton.  Famous Belgian clown and one of the founding members of Complicité, Jos Houben is physical comedy consultant and dance choreography is by Nuna Sandy for ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company.  Charlie and Stan is from an idea by Irene Cotton, with additional material from the company.

Charlie and Stan is produced by David Pugh, Told by an Idiot and Theatre Royal Bath Productions.  Charlie and Stan was originally produced by Told by an Idiot and Theatre Royal Plymouth, in association with Royal & Derngate Northampton and Unity Theatre Liverpool.

Tickets for Charlie and Stan at The Oxford Playhouse start at £10 and are available from the Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or book online at

  • The story of the greatest comedy duo that nearly was is celebrated in a silent show at Oxford Playhouse