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Iconic paintings of comedy greats have the last laugh

Actor Jack Lane with the painting of Norman Wisdom, one of four he bought from the Viv Dykes collection that used to hang in the Alnwick Playhouse.
Actor Jack Lane with the painting of Norman Wisdom, one of four he bought from the Viv Dykes collection that used to hang in the Alnwick Playhouse.

The huge portraits of six British comedy greats that have become synonymous with Alnwick’s Playhouse Theatre have made their last curtain call.

The striking paintings of Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper and Norman Wisdom, and Carry On stars Kenneth Williams, Sid James and Hattie Jacques, by local artist Viv Dykes, have adorned the auditorium for the last six years.

But, with the theatre’s refurbishment imminent, the time has come for them to move on

Nicola Stevenson, Playhouse marketing manager, said: “It has been such a privilege to have Viv’s iconic works on the walls and the Playhouse would like to thank her for her immense generosity in allowing us to have them on display for so long.

“We are delighted that four of the paintings have now been sold and will be continuing their lives in a theatre.”

All but two of the paintings have been bought by award-winning actor Jack Lane who recently performed at the theatre and toured the UK with Wisdom Of A Fool, based on the life and work of Norman Wisdom.

Jack said: “I’d heard about the paintings at Alnwick Playhouse but it wasn’t until playing there with Dad’s Army Radio Hour that I realised just how stunning Viv’s artwork is. It was such a joy to be greeted by portraits of both Norman Wisdom and Kenneth Williams, two comedy icons.

“After being told the Theatre’s refurbishment was imminent and the paintings needed a home, I jumped at the chance to obtain not only Norman and Kenneth but also Eric Morecambe and Tommy Cooper. All four so beautifully capture the energy and soul of these comedy giants. I’ll be exhibiting them at the Capitol Theatre, Horsham, where I’m based in spring 2019.

“I want to give others a chanceto enjoy Viv’s splendid work. We send our best wishes to everyone at the wonderful Alnwick Playhouse and look forward to returning after its exciting refurbishment.”

Alnwick-born artist Viv Dykes Viv showcases her original artwork and mounted prints under the name of The Riverside Studio.

You can see more of her work at her online shop: http://www.theriversidestudio.co.uk
The remaining two Comedy Greats (Sid James and Hattie Jacques) are still for sale.

For any inquiries, contact the Playhouse on 01665 510785.