Comedy legend Frankie Howerd has been brought back to life by Mark Farrelly in his two-hander performance which heads to The Witham in Barnard Castle this March. 

About both the development of Frankie’s comedy - and his extraordinary relationship with his partner Dennis Heymer - the performance delves into the life of the British comedy legend. 

Developing the story through lockdown, creator and actor in the performance Mark Farrelly reflects on what inspired his decision to delve into the private life of comedian Frankie Howerd.

Mark said: “I was always a big Frankie Howerd fan and from a theatre making point of view I wanted to see him again and give him the right kind of farewell as he died very abruptly.”

The Northern Echo: Simon Cartright is outstanding as Frankie Howerd in the performance heading to Barnard Castle

As “one of Britain’s best-loved comedians” Frankie Howerd was an innovative performer whose refusal explore his career and comedy material like everyone else – has inspired non-conformist comedians such as Python and Eddie Izzard.

Without being obscured by the mist of nostalgia, Howerd’s End explores avenues of Frankie Howerd’s life that have never been seen before.

A radical and courageous performer Frankie was the first stand-up to craft stumbling, surreal streams of insecurity, based on his sense of inadequacy, disappointment, and sheer unsuitability to the very job of being a comedian.

Mark  explores the union which made Frankie Howerd possible - his extraordinary 40-year relationship with his lover, friend, and anchor Dennis Heymer.

Playing Dennis Heymer in the production Mark highlights the struggle and strain of Frankie’s secret relationship and his inner struggle with accepting himself as a gay man.

“The play allowed me to revisit his spirit and comedy and let it go in the right way, as I researched his life, I found out about Dennis Heymer who was his partner for 34 years.

“His true place in Frankie's life was carefully concealed, he would always be passed off as a manger or driver – anything other than what he was.

“It was interesting to look at what the cost of that was to Dennis as much as Frankie.”

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Meeting at the Dorchester when Dennis was a sommelier, the pair struck up their relationship which at the time was against the law.

Legitimately frightened that it would affect his career, Frankie kept their relationship ultra-clandestine even when the law changed.

“I wanted to come up with something that was deeper and more nourishing than just looking at Frankie's comedy, to put this comedian into his true context.”

Mark Farrelly has created so much more than just a tribute show with Howerd’s End exploring Frankie’s extraordinary love story that is heart-warming and heart breaking in equal measure.

This incredibly poignant performance, Howerd’s End will be at The Witham in Barnard Castle Friday, March 29.

For more information about the play visit