It's a simple set.

A hospital room with a heart monitor, curtains, bedside cabinet - the only thing that sets it apart is the bed. It's a double bed.

Ernie Wise (Ian Ashpitel) is recovering from a heart attack and receives a visit from his comedy partner Eric Morecambe (Jonty Stephens). Only, by this time Eric has been dead for 15 years.

Like Morecambe and Wise themselves, this is a wonderfully funny, genuine, and beautifully played two-hander, with the performers allowing each other the space they need to "be" the characters.

It's a massive ask. These are two of Britain's most beloved entertainers, but Ashpitel and Stephens have managed to adopt the mannerisms, vocal idiosyncrasies and (particularly impressive for Ern) the hair, without ever making the performance feel like simple impersonation.

There are also unexpected moments of tension, all the more effective between two such familiar and genial characters.

The material is a combination of newly written script and some of the classic scripts, woven into the hospital room scene and the finale where we get just one more performance in front of the famous curtains.

As the audience left, there were a few tears being wiped away quietly.

Until August 26

Following a successful run in 2012, Australian BENNY BOOT returns with As Seen On TV, a show that gives his particularly loose type of stand-up a welcome framework.

The audience is "filmed" as they take their seats, as part of Benny's first live DVD - not that anyone has commissioned it. He is simply having it filmed just in case the broadcasters come calling for it.

This is not just a imaginative premise for the show but a welcome comment on the desire that some stand-ups have to progress to the McIntyre and Millican leave as soon as humanly possible.

The "crew" are responsible for the special effects and moments when Benny's internal monologues begin - his moments of doubt and childhood memories.

Of course, none of this would work if the stand-up was substandard, but Boot's brand of scatter-gun observation covers everything from thieving seagulls to guilty axes to monsters under the bed during sex.

Without the DVD concept the show would be still be high quality stand-up, but this lifts it to another level and has the potential to be developed even further.

Until August 26

If anyone knows how television comedy works, it's JOHN LLOYD. Arguably more influential on British humour than any of the performers he has nurtured, in The Liff Of QI he covers the thirty-odd years he has been involved in ground-breaking comedy.

From his collaboration with friend Douglas Adams on The Meaning Of Liff, through Not The Nine O' Clock News, Spitting Image, Blackadder and ultimately QI, it is a mightily impressive contribution.

It is far from being a retrospective, however. He does deliver some fascinating insights into the books and shows, but he broadens the content to look at the nature of comedy and his observations are not only funny, but thought-provoking. "Do you know that biologists can't tell the difference between a live hamster and a dead one?" for example.

There is an element of the sexy headmaster in his casual approach, occasionally brushing his notes on a lectern placed in the middle of a set that could be the study of an Oxbridge don.

After the show, as the queue forms to have him sign Afterliff, the sequel to The Meaning Of Liff, you wonder how many of them are young hopefuls, looking for a few words of guidance from a man who is undoubtedly our uncrowned king of comedy.

Until August 24