Review: Formby, Assembly George Square (Venue 3)

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IT’S doubtful even Rory Bremner could replicate the unique, thick-as-treacle Lancashire accent of ukulele-slinging entertainer George Formby, with its guttural “r”s and sing-song rhythms, so it may seem a little harsh to criticise actor, dancer and musician Ewan Wardrop for failing to nail it in this bio-play.

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At times, though, he doesn’t even remember to drop his “haitches”, suggesting that director Ed Hughes should either have cracked the whip a little more fiercely in rehearsals or looked into hiring a voice coach.

This intermittent distraction aside, however, there’s plenty for fans to enjoy here, as George strums his way through his remarkable life story, from his ill-starred attempts to make it as a jockey during his teens, to his rather one-sided romance with his wife, Beryl, to his subsequent rise to stardom, first in the music halls of the north of England, then on the big screen.

Wardrop has a hugely impressive CV as a dancer, and is also something of a uke ninja, having played the instrument for 15 years, so the deceptively technical song and dance numbers are all first class. A bit of work on that accent – even a slightly closer approximation would do – and it’s easy to imagine this show enjoying a long and happy life after the Fringe.

Until 27 August. Today 4:45pm.