Britain’s brightest festival brings bristol a unique and eclectic mix of classic film comedy.
Slapstick produced the UK’s first silent comedy festival in 2005. Way back then we were delighted to see 900 enthusiastic attendees discovering the unique pleasures of silent comedy with live musical accompaniment. In the eight years since then word has spread: audiences have multiplied five times over, to see some of today’s most celebrated comedy performers and finest film musicians pay their tributes to the great clowns of the movies’ golden age. This year is again bigger and better, with sixteen events, spread over four days at four of Bristol’s finest venues - including, this year Bristol Old Vic, which on January 27th hosts a special Slapstick Sunday, with four major shows.
The central theme this January is FUNNY LADIES. Though the names of Chaplin and Keaton may be better known and remembered today, the girls gave as good as they got, and this is a chance to see again two truly great comediennes, Marion Davies and Colleen Moore, as well as the irresistible comedy troupers, Anita Garvin and Marion Byron, featured in four programmes. THE GIRL WITH THE HATBOX offers an unforgettable tHe mUsic Slapstick’s live musical accompaniments to films have set new standards. Maestro Günter Buchwald returns with the European Silent Screen Virtuosi, featuring Günter himself on piano and violin, Frank Bockius on percussion, Romano Todesco on double-bass and accordion, and triple Oscar-winning animator Richard Williams on cornet. The Virtuosi will play alongside members of the Bristol Ensemble, presenting a part- comedy performance by the gifted Ukrainian actress Anna Sten, who later became a Hollywood star. As a climax to the event, a great living British “Funny Lady”, June Whitfield, will be honoured in a special “Comedy Legend” tribute on Sunday at Bristol Old Vic.
The male greats are not forgotten: the opening gala
at the Colston Hall includes Harold Lloyd’s THE KID BROTHER, while the European Silent Screen Virtuosi will provide musical accompaniment for Buster Keaton’s COLLEGE. Bill Oddie introduces a selection of Laurel and Hardy talkies on Sunday morning and other contemporary comedy greats will be presenting shows such as Ian Lavender (COLLEGE) and Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Colin Sell who will be celebrating 40 years of Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. I hope you’ll find something in the programme to entice you.
See you there!