THREE of Scotland’s most loved comic actors are to star in a new play which will be given its “world premiere” in Kirkcaldy next month.

Over many years, the talents of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott have endeared them to pantomime audiences in Edinburgh and now the rest of the country will have a chance to enjoy their comic chemistry when the new play goes on tour.

Described as a funny play about being funny, Canned Laughter has been specially written for the trio about three comedians and their career from the 1970s until now.

Written and directed by Ed Curtis, it is produced by Kirkcaldy-born Neil Laidlaw who is currently one of the co-producers of Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton which transferred from Chichester Festival Theatre to the Savoy Theatre, London. He also directed Tony Roper’s Steamie on its Scottish tour and Hormonal Housewives.

“When Ed came to me with the idea of Allan, Andy and Grant being in a play together I jumped at the chance,” said Laidlaw. “I’ve seen them on stage together many times before and I know that the chemistry the three of them have together is going to create a hilarious night at the theatre.”


FOR the last three years Curtis has directed Stewart, Gray and Stott in the King’s Theatre pantomime in Edinburgh. His directing credits include the critically-acclaimed Susan Boyle musical I Dreamed A Dream and the Perrier Award-nominated Conspiracy.

He also wrote the Olivier Award-nominated Dance ‘til Dawn and Marlon Brando’s Corset.

His new play begins in the Seventies and tells the story of funny men Alec, Angus and Rory, one of Scotland’s top comedy acts. Having topped the bill at the biggest theatres in the country, it looks like they’re getting a TV show and are about to hit the big time. The comedy trio appear to be riding high and nothing’s going to stop them. Or is it?

Fast forward to today and the three find themselves together again for the first time in decades. The question is whether they are able to put their past differences behind them when it seems as if they still care who gets the biggest laugh.


ALLAN Stewart, of course, is no stranger to audiences having performed in 23 pantomimes. In 1996 he won the part of a lifetime playing legendary entertainer Al Jolson in the West End production of Jolson, which later continued on to Toronto, Canada.

Stewart got his break when he appeared in Hello, Good evening, and Welcome, followed by the 1979 STV series The Allan Stewart Tapes, which was picked up by ITV network and resulted in Thames Television giving Allan his own show in 1980, followed by a full series on Scottish television.

In the Eighties, Stewart appeared in five series of the LWT’s Copy Cats alongside Bobby Davro and Gary Wilmot. He was also a stalwart of many live variety shows from the London Palladium and His Majesty’s Theatre.

His work includes the Producers, Stones in His Pockets and a new tour of a musical called Jolson and Co which won rave reviews.


ANDY Gray is undoubtedly one of the best-known faces of Scottish entertainment having worked for more than 30 years in theatre, radio, television and film.

His big break came in 1986 when he co-starred in the BBC Radio Scotland sketch show Naked Radio, and its television counterpart Naked Video, before becoming well known as Chancer in the 1980s sitcom City Lights.

He is well known as one of Scotland’s great pantomime headliners in both Glasgow and Edinburgh and also appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe last year in the hugely successful Willie and Sebastian for which he won the Stage award. In 2013 he was in the Fringe’s Kiss Me, Honey, Honey at The Gilded Balloon with Grant Stott. The play won a Fringe First Award and toured Scotland before returning to the Fringe in 2014.

Also in 2014 Andy played a leading role in Scottish feature film Time Teens: The Beginning which won several awards globally. Gray has just finished filming Tommy’s Honour, a feature film directed by Jason Connery.


GRANT Stott is an experienced radio and TV presenter, columnist, event host, regular evil panto villain and actor.

His TV career includes fronting a wide range of programmes for both BBC and STV such as Fully Booked, Children in Need, Scotsport and The Hour. More recently he has returned to the small screen as the regular Friday evening host of The Fountainbridge Show on STV Edinburgh.

Grant is also very much a mainstay of the Scottish panto scene, having taken to the stage every year, bar one, since 1993. Having debuted at the Kings in Glasgow, he has now been the regular villain at the Kings in Edinburgh for 10 consecutive years and this year’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs saw him notch up his 22nd panto.

Along with Gray he starred in Willie and Sebastian written by Ian Pattison which was based on real life characters Willie Donaldson and Sebastian Horsley.

Grant said he was looking forward to starting rehearsals for Canned Laughter on Thursday, February 11.

“To take the relationship formed over years of doing panto together into a play across Scotland just seems like a dream to me – I can’t wait to get started on it,” he said.

Canned Laughter kicks off in Kirkcaldy at the Adam Smith Theatre on March 9 and then heads to Glasgow’s Theatre Royal, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, and the King’s in Edinburgh.