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A manly look at love

For one night only Laurence and Gus: Men in Love, a sold- out show at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is coming to Croydon.

The Bolton News: Laurence Howarth (left) with Gus Brown star in Laurence and Gus: Men In Love Laurence Howarth (left) with Gus Brown star in Laurence and Gus: Men In Love

As the title suggests it is a wonderfully silly dissection of how men handle love, presented by two guys, Laurence Howarth and Gus Brown.

I asked Laurence why they wanted to be on the road again.

"We've been let out on the road for bad behaviour," he quips. "But it's quite romantic out there on the motorways with Gus and a set in a van.

"I enjoy touring because with comedy you never know what's going to happen in different towns and areas.

"At Edinburgh it was saturated with comedy and I think audiences can get a bit jaundiced, so it was good to go down so well there."

Laurence Howarth is part of a double-act (not a term he likes very much) with Gus Brown.

They have appeared together on Radio Four Live and on Loose Ends (Radio 4) and will be recording their own Radio 4 series, Laurence and Gus: Untold Stories this spring.

Laurence's CV includes writing for Dead Ringers (Radio 4 and BBC2), The Sunday Format (Radio 4) and Alistair McGowan's Big Impression (BBC1). He is also responsible for the hit sitcom Rigor Mortis starring Peter Davison.

Yet he began a stage career quite late in life after studying English at university.

"I left uni not really knowing what I would be doing," he admits. I came to London with a friend and for the lack of anything else to do I did stand-up in a club for a show called Weekending. I did that for four years. From there I tried my hand at scriptwriting. I met Gus five years ago.

"We were both at Edinburgh, he was improvising on an Iranian carpet I think, and we seemed to have a good rapport.

"We got on well and we worked well together. We are very responsive to each other and it's been a success."

I wondered if, like Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, they had any rivalry.

"We are not in the hierarchy yet like Pete and Dud, but there is rivalry between us. "Audiences seem to decide that they like one of us more than the other, and Gus has his nights and I have mine," he says.

What is Men in Love all about then?

"It's about various aspects and stages of being in love. Unrequited love, a jealous lover, competing for love, all types of situations and some unexpected ones. Most of the five sketches will all strike a cord with someone," he adds.

Laurence and Gus: Men in Love is at the Warehouse Theatre, Dingwall Road, Croydon, on Sunday, January 30, at 8.30pm.Tickets are £10. Call 020 8680 4060.



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