Saturday 27 June 2015

Oh Hello! The story of Charles Hawtrey

Welsh actor Jamie Rees is bringing his hit one man show to the Edinburgh Festival this August. Jamie plays Carry On legend Charles Hawtrey, bringing him back to life in the play Oh Hello!

The show charts Hawtrey's life from a leading light in British theatre, through the high points of his career in silent films and working with Will Hay. Of course the Carry Ons are a mainstay of the play and from the reviews I have read, Rees will bring to life some of Hawtrey's legendary spats with fellow actor Kenneth Williams.

The show is being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe by the Torch Theatre Company who have released the following information on the show:

Charles Hawtrey was one of the leading lights of the Carry On Film franchise and Oh Hello! is a one man show about Hawtrey’s life both on and off screen. Bubbly, energetic and extremely funny, Hawtrey was one of the best known comedy actors of the 40s, 50s and 60s but as his career waned, so his behaviour became more drunken, promiscuous and eccentric, losing him many friends.
In Oh Hello!, Pembrokeshire performer Jamie Rees (who is also The Torch Theatre’s Marketing Manager) plays the little man of the Carry Ons, regaling stories of 50 years in the film industry working with the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and starring in films including The Ghost of St Michael’s, Passport to Pimlico and many, many Carry On films. Hawtrey made over 100 film and TV performances in his career, a great many more than most of his Carry On film colleagues. This was a fact of which he obsessed and his status in the Carry Onfilms was a huge concern for him, which led him to eventually fall out with the Carry On producers and anyone associated with the franchise. But while his spats with Kenneth Williams are well known, his true nemesis in life was that of the bottle. Jamie comments:
Hawtrey was a gay alcoholic through the 1950s, 60s and 70s. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for him. Homosexuality was actually against the law for much of his life so it must have been horribly difficult. There’s no doubting he could be a horrible man, especially when he was drunk, but when he was sober and on the top of his game he was funny, intelligent and a very good actor with an infectious personality. Oh Hello! is a classic roller-coaster story and one, I hope, that Edinburgh audiences will be able to identify with and enjoy.”

it certainly sounds like a show worth seeing! If anyone is lucky enough to get tickets and see the show this August, please do let me know! 

You can visit the Torch Theatre website here and you can follow Jamie on Twitter @JamRees 

Oh Hello! is on at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh from 7-31 August. 

You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook

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