A Told by an Idiot and Theatre Royal Plymouth production

with Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Created by Told by an Idiot 


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 soulmate 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 played live each night, 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 London International Mime Festival. 

The production was accessible to D/deaf audiences. The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel was performed mainly without words, but did contain music and some short songs (lyrics here). Silent film style captions were used throughout to add detail to the action on stage.



★★★★ ‘this fantasia on Chaplin and Laurel... is seldom less than magical’ GUARDIAN

★ ‘blissful entertainment…A treat, silly and sublime’ TELEGRAPH

★ 'noisy mime that tells a thousand comic words' DAILY MAIL

★ 'can’t help but leave the broadest of grins on its audience’s faces’ REVIEWSHUB

★ ‘riotous masterclass in storytelling’ WHATSONSTAGE



Created by Told by an Idiot

Performers: Sara AlexanderNick HaversonJerone Marsh-ReidAmalia Vitale

Writer and Director Paul Hunter

Designer Ioana Curelea (Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design 2019)

Lighting Designer Aideen Malone

Composer Zoe Rahman

Physical Comedy Consultant Jos Houben 

Song Arrangement Sophie Cotton

Dance Choreography Nuna Sandy for ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company

Video Designer Dom Baker

Assistant Director Andrea Cabrera Luna 

From an idea by Irene Cotton 

With additional material from the company


Production Manager (for Told by an Idiot) Hannah Blamire 

Technical Stage Manager Sophie Tetlow 

Deputy Stage Manager Leona Nally 

ASM (rehearsal and Theatre Royal Plymouth) Rachel Middlemore 

Wardrobe ASM (tour) Sophie Fuller


PR by Nancy Poole PR (07957342850 [email protected])

The Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design is kindly supported by the Charles Mason and Naomi Wilkinson Foundation


Take a look at the programme here

Read The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel rehearsal blog here 


Tour Dates


14 - 30 November  Theatre Royal Plymouth


9 - 10 January           Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg
14 - 18 January        Wilton's Music Hall as part of London International Mime Festival
21 - 25 January        Minerva Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre
4 - 8 February           HOME, Manchester
11 - 15 February     Northern Stage, Newcastle
18 - 22 February     Unity Theatre, Liverpool
25 - 29 February     Birmingham Repertory Theatre
3 - 7 March                 Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
10 - 21 March           Royal & Derngate, Northampton
24 - 28 March           Exeter Northcott


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!