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Entertainment Ormskirk actor Jon Culshaw hitting the stage as Les Dawson in a new play

21:20  29 july  2022
21:20  29 july  2022 Source:   lancs.live

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Ormskirk-born actor Jon Culshaw to star as comedian Les Dawson in a new play about his life.

In homage of the much-loved comedian, Jon will be doing his best impression and donning a sharp suit to transform in to the beloved Les Dawson. The actor, comedian and impressionist will perform the play, Les Dawson: Flying High at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 3 - 28 August.

The play will then go on tour across the UK and will end its run in Lytham St. Anne's, where a statue of Les has been erected since 2008. Les Dawson: Flying High has been written by BAFTA and Olivier Award winning Tim Whitnall and director Bob Golding.

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Talking about the play, Jon told LancsLive: "It really is an honour to be playing Les, my comedy hero, every comedian's comedy hero. It's such a lovely pleasure to portray him, because of his humour and his warmth and that beautiful love of words and language that he played.

"Our writer, Tim Whitnall, incorporated all of that into the play, so I do get to say some beautiful phraseology. It's beautiful, a real joy."

The play focuses on being better than a basic recount of the comedian's life, exploring contemporary themes such as mortality, identity, love, kindness, spiritual beliefs or even ambition, that paced Les' life. Jon added: "The writer, Tim, came across a story of when, in December 1985, Les had been booked to do a private party in New York.

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Comedian Les Dawson at home in Lytham St Annes, in 1982 © Mirrorpix Comedian Les Dawson at home in Lytham St Annes, in 1982

"This was the time when he had just finished a novel, called A Time Before Genesis and he wanted that published and the publishers said, yeah we'll publish your novel but will you please finish your autobiography? So the story goes, on this flight to New York, he pulled together the notes for his autobiography and Tim, the writer, thought this is a great way to frame the whole play.

"You're on Concorde, a few glasses of champagne, 11 miles above the Earth, flying at twice the speed of sound - this is a good place to reminisce about your life and pull the notes together and that became the framework of the play." The play has already been put on for a few previews, one was in Bury in The Met as well as Chorley Theatre.

When asked if he thinks people still relate to Les and his comedy, Jon said: "I really do, I think it's because of the depth that Les wrote his comedy and the love that was within it and the luxuriant language. When you look at it now, you really do see a master at work and even the most savage mother-in-law lines were written with love and with a comic absurdity.

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"I think they're reflected, things like family dynamics and how family members can tease one another, sometimes with very mischievous words indeed, but never too far away from saying, but I love you really. I think people get a great sense of warmth that we need right now and that we mustn't forget - so, I think his comedy matures like a fine old whiskey."

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