BARRY CRYER: A Tribute With a Little Help from His Friends

BARRY CRYER: A Tribute With a Little Help from His Friends

Date: 27th March 2022
Time: 3:30pm
Venue Website: Redgrave Theatre
Map: Redgrave Theatre
Price: £16-£18 Plus booking fees

The national outpouring of sorrow and tributes at the passing of our friend Barry Cryer proved that he was the supreme British mirth-maker, a unique giant in the history of British comedy, to rank with mythical titans like Grimaldi, Dan Leno and George Robey. Yet even they each created only one character: Barry’s comedic invention did much to recognise the genius and shape the skills and style of several generations of star comedians.

The originally planned programme of Slapstick 2022 included a live show celebrating Barry in person. This show and celebration will now go on, hosted by his friend and long-time comic collaborator Les Dennis, with Barry’s Son Bob Cryer along and his regular collaborators on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Graeme Garden and Colin Sell.

The evening is an opportunity to celebrate Barry’s memory and genius, presented by those who knew him best

Please join us in this celebration of Baz’s finest moments and memories – and a generous dose of parrot jokes.

All profits from the event will go to Barry’s favourite cause: The Royal Variety Charity

Show at 3:30pm

Paddington (2014): Introduced by Andy Day

Paddington (2014)

Introduced by children’s TV star Andy Day 

Running time 95 mins

Directed by Paul King 

Date: Sun 27th March 2022
Time: 12:30pm
Venue Website: Redgrave Theatre
Map: Redgrave Theatre
Price: £10.00 (adult), £5.00 (Children)

A rare chance to see the BAFTA award-winning, much celebrated first outing of Michael Bond’s beloved bear’s transition to the big screen. Slapstick’s special one-off screening is an occasion for the whole family. With an introduction from one of UK’s best loved Cbeebies presenter Andy Day.

Paul King, director of Paddington has cited Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin as being huge influences on Paddington’s character and transition to the big screen and at Slapstick we can only applaud that.

Upon release the film received showers of praise, living up to the reputation of the classic kids story. It stays true to the original, and beautifully depicts the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear who travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone in the middle of Paddington station, he begins to worry that the city life is not all he had imagined. But his luck changes when he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven. Paddington then starts to rather enjoy life in London, that is until a museum taxidermist gets sight of him…

We will also be handing out a special complimentary Paddington Pack for every young person, which includes a Marmalade sandwich – of course! This is fun packed family entertainment not to be missed.

Andy Day
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Paddington: An Ode to Slapstick
Paddington An Ode to Slapstick

Review: The Real Charlie Chaplin

the real charlie chaplin

Review: The Real Charlie Chaplin

The following is a review of The Real Charlie Chaplin, originally published for Silent London and reproduced here with the kind permission of the author Pamela Hutchinson.


It’s a bold, almost alarming title. At this distance, can it be possible to uncover The Real Charlie Chaplin? And if there is something hidden in the biography this most famous of filmmakers, one that can without trepidation be called an icon, might those of us who love his films really want to know?

Rest easy then, as this documentary by Peter Middleton and James Spinney (Notes on Blindness) has no disturbing revelations. That is, as long as you have already been reading those large gaps between the lines of his biography. Chaplin liked the company of young women – girls, in fact. He married teenagers. He sometimes (often?) treated them badly. It’s a been said before and it is stated again here without excuses or attacking the women such as Lita Grey who testified to his ill-treatment. This has been trumpeted in some quarters as a belated #MeToo reckoning for Chaplin. That would be very belated. In truth we have always known this, but some fans refuse to hear it.

We learn also that he was temperamental, even as a child, that he was prone to self-pity, and finally was a distant father. The last words in this documentary are given to his daughter Jane, who waited years to get to know her famous dad, and found herself finally alone with him when she had all but given up hope. Also to his final wife Oona, who wrote so much about their life together and then destroyed her own words before she died. Thus the films ends as poignantly as it had began, in Chaplin’s tough, deprived childhood, and his own cruel abandonment by his father. Such cycles are common, we understand. Chaplin was flawed. The films, mostly, are not.


Many devotees will flinch at even that, but The Real Charlie Chaplin is no hitpiece: it’s an elegant, and sympathetic introduction to the man’s work and life, narrated in soothing tones by actress Pearl Mackie. She played Bill Potts in Doctor Who, and she’s from south London, as are the two directors – ­which matters, just a little. The Chaplin story as they tell it is a diverting way to spend two hours. We follow his path from rags in London to riches in Hollywood to comfortable if perhaps bitter exile in Switzerland.

We see his brilliance and creativity in comedy, his sudden fame and prolonged success, as well as the grisly moment that a certain faction of the American establishment turned against him. His punishment was extreme, in proportion to his previous adulation, you might say, rather than his supposed political crime. His incriminating remarks on communism are quoted here, which are all in a direct line of thought from his cathartic early film comedy, described in this film succinctly as: “The Tramp not only stands up to the man, he gives him a kick up the arse for good measure.” Fellow traveller? Of the funniest kind.

However, it was the murky, messily unresolved case of Joan Barry, dredged up for political ends, that really did for him. The motives of his accusers were far from honourable and no one comes out of this episode with a clean slate.

Chaplin Films the Kid

Illustrating the tale, here are film clips, archive images and the occasional set of distressed mock intertitles. There are few dates and facts – it’s a story rather than a lecture – but there is a certain candour in its tone, despite the absence of shock revelations. As a primer on his career, it gives more the sense of the man and his art, rather than a full filmography. As such, it’s possibly to pick at the odd dropped stich: the voiceover states that Chaplin scored his films, before going on to describe him making The Kid. You could read that as ahistorical, or you could concede the broader point that eventually, musical composition was another string to his bow. A caption on screen refers to Minta Durfee but the voiceover calls her “someone” which tells you the knowledge level that the film is aimed at.

There is something new here, and it provides a dash of welcome cockney colour, if nothing else. A recently rediscovered interview conducted by Kevin Brownlow in the early 1980s with one Effie Wisdom, a neighbour and friend of Chaplin’s from his youth. In re-enactments, Wisdom is played by Anne Rosenfeld, and Brownlow is played by Dominic Marsh. Wisdom recalls in uncanny detail conversations from their childhood and from his return visit to London as an old man, as well as the thrill of seeing him perform on stage as a young boy, and his native accent: “Common, like me.”

If you’re looking for the real Charlie Chaplin, perhaps it’s Effie Wisdom’s young pal we need to think of, the boy who hadn’t had his elocution lessons yet.

The Real Charlie Chaplin will be screened on Saturday 29th January 2022 at the Watershed in Bristol.

The above article was originally written for Silent London (see and is reproduced with permission of the author Pamela Hutchinson

Welcome Back to Slapstick!

Welcome Back to Slapstick!

26-30 January 2022

We’re back!

And proud to be hosting some of the finest and funniest silent films ever made live from Bristol’s best venues. With a little help from world-class musical accompaniments and some incredible guests we are more determined than ever to bring laughter, fun and delight to audiences old and new.

We have a rich and varied programme of events for our 18th edition. Including films from the undeniable legends of classic silent comedy; Keaton, Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, Marion Davies, Chaplin and more.

As well as events celebrating the golden era of classic British TV comedy: ‘Tim Vine Salutes Kenny Everett’, ‘Barry Cryer: An Audience With A Comedy Legend’ plus live onstage talks and performances from master satirist Armando Ianucci along with stand up comedians Arthur Smith and Richard Herring and ‘Would I Lie to You?’ team captain David Mitchell amongst others.

Our celebrated programme of silent comedy will delight both casual fans and aficionados alike. From Soviet comedy My Grandmother (1929) introduced by Actor Paul McGann and Czechoslovakian slapstick comedy Old Gangster Molls (1927) introduced by comedian Lucy Porter to a screening of the brand new documentary The Real Chaplin (2021) and
a lecture from Bill Oddie where he shares his enthusiasm for comedy ‘violence’ and another where he shares his love of classic animation with Aardman Animation’s Peter Lord.

But that’s not all. In addition to the above guests already mentioned we have a delightful number of returning slapstick family members, along with some new faces, all bringing their unique qualities to these events.

Writer Stephen Mangan, Actor Sally Phillips, Impressionist Ronni Ancona, the unstoppable Barry Cryer, Tim Vine, Richard Herring, Robin Ince and Andy Day all make a welcome return.

Our incomparable team of musicians return including; Guenter A Buchwald, Stephen Horne, Frank Bockius and Romano Todesco along with Bristol Ensemble’s Roger Huckle and solo pianist John Sweeney. All this accompanied with experts like David Robinson, James Curtis, Kevin Brownlow, Sian Norris, Peter Kramër, Andrew Kelly, Chris Serle and Serge Bromberg each ready to showcase their knowledge and passion.

It’s the perfect antidote to the long cold dark nights and the furore of 2020.

Welcome back to Slapstick!

Chris Daniels

Gala Chris Daniels All Photos © David Betteridge Photography 1 uai 516x772 2

Arthur Smith: Laughs, Stories, a Song and a Poem

Arthur Smith:

Laughs, Stories, a Song and a Poem

Date: Sunday 30 January 2022
Time: 5.30pm
Venue: St George’s Bristol
Map: St Georges Bristol
Price: £10.00 – £20.00, plus booking fee

Settle down for a laughter-filled evening of off-the-wall humour with comedian, writer and broadcaster ARTHUR SMITH.

Smith is one of the stand-ups who revolutionized the world of light entertainment in the eighties and nineties and who is now a much-loved regular on TV/radio panel games and talk shows including QI, HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU and R4’s LOOSE ENDS.

Expect sublime playfulness crammed with jokes, anecdotes, short stories, poems and songs, and a generous helping of sass.

Arthur Smith Big Comedy Bash

Armando Iannucci: A Life in Satire

Armando Iannucci:

A Life in Satire

Date: Sunday 30 January 2022
Time: 2.30pm
Venue: St George’s Bristol
Map: St Georges Bristol
Price: £20, £18, £15, £10

Armando Iannucci has been a major force in satirical TV/film comedy for more than three decades through his creation of works such as THE DAY TODAY, IN THE LOOP, IN THE THICK OF IT, VEEP and THE DEATH OF STALIN.

His nurturing of comic talents including Steve Coogan, Chris Morris, Chris Addison, Richard Herring and Rebecca Front and his part in the invention of many enduring characters, Alan Partridge and Malcolm Tucker among them.

Here, with the help of clips, he shares his thoughts on how satire entertains, informs, shapes opinions, adapts for the times with comedian and fellow writer Robin Ince (co-presenter of R4’s THE INFINITE MONKEY CAGE and the author of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING INTERESTED)

armando iannucci featured at slapstick festival Bristol

Richard Herring’s The Sunday Chat

Richard Herring: The Sunday Chat

With Jon Culshaw

Date: Sun 30th January 2022
Time: 12.00pm
Venue: St George’s Bristol
Map: St Georges Bristol
Price: £10.00 – £20.00, plus booking fee

Join comedian and writer Richard Herring as he turns the interviewing skills honed on his award-winning podcast to quiz the latest in a line-up of celebrity guests.

His special Slapstick Festival guest is the hilarious award-winning comedian, actor and impressionist Jon Culshaw.

Jon is best know for being a star of The Impressions Show and Dead Ringers along with lending his many voices to shows such as Spitting Image and ITV sketch show Newzoids.

Richard pulls no punches in his interviews, frequently prying the most hilarious, original and surprising stories from his guests, and we expect nothing less when he sits down with Jon to discuss his life and career.

Animation Fanatics

Animation Fanatics

With Peter Lord

Date: Sunday 30th January 2022
Time: 9:30am
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£5.00

Peter Lord (co-founder of Aardman Animations) has had a passion for early animation, both stop motion and classical drawing.

Here he celebrate the unique blend of surrealism and visual comedy that animation does best, showing clips from the weird and wonderful work of Ladislas Starevich right through to the classic slapstick of the Golden Years.

This cornucopia of animated delights will dazzle and charm, with the opportunity to learn from Bristol’s iconic animator/director.

Please Note: Bill Oddie, as was originally advertised, is not able to co-host this event.


Richard Herring’s Desert Island Comedy Flicks

Richard Herring’s

Desert Island Comedy Flicks

Date: Sat 29th January 2022
Time: 12.30pm
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: From £8, plus booking fee

Pioneer of comedy Podcasting, legendary stand-up and writer Richard Herring joins Infinite Monkey Cage co-host Robin Ince at Slapstick’s inaugural DICF event.

If Richard was stranded on a desert island and could only have only 10 comedy films with him which films would he chose?

Come and delight in the conversation as Robin probes Richard to reveal the titles that Richard feels deserve repeat viewing and hear the stories behind the choices.

With a Q&A too, this will be a rare chance to see and hear Herring in the hot seat.

richard herring page

The Real Charlie Chaplin (2021)

The Real Charlie Chaplin (2021)

Date: Saturday 29th January 2022
Time: 9:20am
Venue Website: Watershed
Map: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£6.00

Dir: Peter Middleton & James Spinney US 104min

We are honoured to be hosting a screening of the brand new documentary ‘The Real Charlie Chaplin’ fresh off its debut at The London Film festival.

A look at the life and work of the one and only Charlie Chaplin in his own words, featuring an in-depth interview he gave to Life Magazine in 1966.

With unprecedented access to archive footage, as well as talking heads from surviving family members, this documentary reveals never-before-seen insights into the Hollywood star. Introduced by Peter Middleton & James Spinney followed by a Q & A.

You can read a review of the documentary, written by Pamela Hutchinson, here!

the real charlie chaplin