Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Watch the film, and take a look at our copy GEN11 – the most expensive stage prop ever used.

Date: Tues 14 Feb 2023
Time: 14:00 hrs
Venue: The former Bristol Imax Cinema, Bristol Aquarium
Price: £10 Adult/ FREE under 16
Dir: Ken Hughes (1968)
UK, 144 mins, cert U

Slapstick 2023 launches its festival-wide salute to comedy and music with a family-friendly screening of the fantasy adventure centred on a magical car.

Taking inspiration from a novel by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was co-scripted by Roald Dahl and features a dozen songs from the Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers and stars lifelong Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton fan Dick Van Dyke.

As an added treat for ticket holders, a replica of the car, as seen on Strictly Come Dancing and the 50th Anniversary celebrations at Pinewood Studios, will be in Millennium Square for selfies from 12 midday on the 14th Feb.

RUNNING TIME APPROX 3 hr including an interval.

Some Like it Hot

some like it hot movie
some like it hot movie
some like it hot movie

Some Like it Hot

With a special pre-screening cabaret intro by dazzlingly drag queen Cynthia Road.

Date: Tues 14 Feb 2023
Time: 20:00 hrs
Venue: The former Bristol Imax Cinema, Bristol Aquarium
Price: £12 / £8 Concs
Dir: Billy Wilder (1959)
UK, USA, 121 mins, cert 12

Voted the all-time best comedy film in a BBC poll of reviewers in 52 countries and a triple Oscar and Golden Globes winner.

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon portray musicians who escape Chicago mobsters by posing as women and joining a Florida-bound all-girl band in which the singer/ukulele player is Marilyn Monroe.

RUNNING TIME APPROX 2 hrs 10 mins.

Join us, on Valentine’s day, for this romantic evening of classic comedy.

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

Date: Weds 15 Feb 2023
Time: 10:30 hrs
Venue: The former Bristol Imax Cinema, Bristol Aquarium
Price: £10 Adult/ FREE under 16
Dir: Robert Stevenson (1964)
USA, 139 mins, cert U

It’s not surprising Walt Disney considered this film the crowning achievement of his long career – it won his studio a record 13 Oscar nominations and five wins, including for best songs.

It is also where Dame Julie Andrews makes her Hollywood debut, portraying the nanny with magical powers in a star-studded cast headed by Dick van Dyke.

Whether you’re seeing it for the first time, or as a nostalgic reminder of your childhood, this is an event that will ensure it’s a happy (half-term) holiday for all ages.

RUNNING TIME APPROX 2 hrs 30 mins.

mary poppins

Fred Karno: The Legend Behind The Laughter

Fred Karno: The Legend Behind The Laughter

Date: Weds 15 Feb 2023
Time: 16:15 hrs
Venue: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£5.00

Without the wit, grit and creativity of Exeter-born Fred Karno, the Slapstick Festival itself might not exist.

Karno was the acrobat, gag deviser and impresario who recruited and trained many of the physical performers who gave Hollywood its slapstick comedy stars, such as Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Will Hay.

The festival is delighted, therefore, to host an illustrated conversation between Andrew Kelly (Bristol ideas) and David Crump – author of a definitive new biography of the man whose mantra “If in doubt, fall on your arse” influences so many of the entertainers Slapstick celebrates.

In partnership with Bristol Ideas.

RUNNING TIME APPROX 1 hrs 15 mins.

Fred Karno

This Is Spinal Tap

This Is Spinal Tap

With specially recorded introductions from Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls) and Sir Michael Palin

Date: Weds 15 Feb 2023
Time: 20:30 hrs
Venue: The former Bristol Imax Cinema, Bristol Aquarium
Price: £10 adults / £5 under 16
Dir: Rob Reiner
USA (1984), 82 mins, cert 15

Included in the Slapstick 2023 line-up at the express request of guest curator Sir Michael Palin, who chose the film as his favourite film comedy, Rob Reiner’s 11 out of 10 deserving mockumentary is a scathing lampoon of every heavy metal band that’s ever taken itself too seriously and of rock music documentaries in general.

With a sequel reportedly on the way (with Reiner again in charge and Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer reprising their characters) there’s no better time to revel in this big-screen outing of a film hailed by Rotten Tomatoes critics as “Smartly directed, brilliantly acted, and packed with endlessly quotable moments … an all-time comedy classic.”

With video introductions from Sir Michael and from Harry Shearer, whose many film and TV credits include playing the band’s bassist Derek Smalls and voicing multiple characters in The Simpsons,

RUNNING TIME APPROX 1 hrs 30 mins.

This is spinal tap film
spinal tap Derek Smalls Harry Shearer

Monty Python & The Holy Grail

Monty Python & The Holy Grail

With specially recorded introductions from Sir Michael Palin & John Cleese

Date: Thurs 16 Feb, 2023
Time: 17:30 hrs
Venue: The former Bristol Imax Cinema, Bristol Aquarium
Price: £15.00/£10.00
Dir: Terry Gilliam / Terry Jones
UK (1975), 91 mins, cert 12A

A big screen showing of the Flying Circus squad’s first ‘proper’ feature kicks off our series of ‘Palin & Python’ events.

A silly, ingeniously funny and visually lovely skewing of the Arthurian legend. One count says it contains 527 jokes, or roughly one every 10 seconds, guaranteeing it a top 10 place in numerous all-time best comedy film lists.

Michael Palin, now a real knight, plays the most roles – 12 – and Sir Not-To-Be-Seen-In-This-Film is his then infant son, William.

A cult comedy classic.

EVENT RUNNING TIME APPROX 1 hr 40 mins

Palin Cleese Idle Holy Grail

The Scaffold: Live at Talk Of The Town (1969)

The Scaffold Live at Talk Of The Town (1969)

Date: Fri 17th Feb, 2023
Time: 18:00 hrs
Venue: The former Bristol Imax Cinema, Bristol Aquarium
Price: £10.00 / £8.00
Cert 12

An archive special event, as a curtain-raiser to our special reunion event on Saturday.

Be among the first to view one of the latest finds by TV archaeologist Philip Morris – a live BBC recording of a show combining comedy, pop music and poetry by the 1960s Liverpool band The Scaffold, filmed live just weeks after the trio scored a global hit with Lily The Pink, yet long believed wiped and unseen for 50 years.

This is a rare opportunity to watch the legendary “Scaffs” at the peak of their creative powers.

With a post-screening chat with members of The Scaffold hosted by Andrew Kelly.

In partnership with Bristol Ideas.

EVENT RUNNING TIME APPROX 1 hr 20 mins

Scaffold re united
Photo, courtesy of Mike McCartney.

The Comic Strip Presents: More Bad News

The Comic Strip Presents: More Bad News

With Nigel ‘Den Dennis’ Planer & Peter ‘Spider Webb’ Richardson

Date: Sat 18th Feb, 2023
Time: 14:30 hrs
Venue: St Georges, Bristol
Price: From £15.00
Dir: Adrian Edmondson
1988, 51 mins. Cert 15

Slapstick’s homage to mockumentaries continues with the second film by Channel 4’s Comic Strip gang about the heavy metal band Bad News – back together four years after an acrimonious break-up and preparing for an appearance at Castle Donington’s Monsters of Rock festival. Directed by Ade Edmondson and featuring Ade along with Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson as the band and with Dawn French as their manager and Jennifer Saunders as the journalist tracking the mayhem.

Joining us for the screening will be Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson.

Hosted by Robin Ince and followed by a Q&A

EVENT RUNNING TIME APPROX 1 hr 10 mins

More bad news

The Scaffold: A Celebration

The Scaffold: A Celebration with Harry Hill

With John Gorman, Roger McGough, and Mike “McGear” McCartney and special guest host: Harry Hill

Date: Sat 18th Feb, 2023
Time: 20:30 hrs
Venue: St Georges, Bristol
Price: From £15.00

There’s never been a satirical performance group quite like The Scaffold. In the sixties and early seventies their unique blend of comedy, music and poetry packed out theatres at home and across the world and their frequent appearances on prime-time TV ensured that John Gorman, Roger McGough and Mike “McGear” McCartney became much-loved household names.

Equally loved by the mainstream and 1960s counter-culture, they produced hit after hit of chart-topping perennial favourites, including Thank U Very Much (for the Aintree Iron), Lily the Pink and Liverpool Lou.

With superfan and guest presenter Harry Hill onboard you can be sure of an evening of hilarious stories, sketches, poems, and rare footage including a screening of their short film Plod (1972), and possibly even a song or two, all celebrating the fascinating history of The Scaffold.

EVENT RUNNING TIME APPROX 2 hrs

Photo of The Scaffold (colour), courtesy of Mike McCartney.

The Rutles: All You Need is Cash

The Rutles: All You Need is Cash

Introduction from John “Barry Wom” Halsey

Date: Sun 19th Feb, 2023
Time: 09:30 hrs
Venue: Watershed
Price: £8.50/£5.00

This is the Eric Idle/ Neil Innes cult classic mockumentary which paved the way for all others, including This Is Spinal Tap (1984) and The Comic Strip’s Bad News(1983) and More Bad News (1988).
A brilliant comedy spoof of Beatlemania, it charts the rise, falls and fallings out of the ‘Pre-Fab Four’ with 20 Neil Innes songs not only instantly recognisable as parodies of Beatles’ hits but also pitch-perfect in their own right. Innes is a natural as
Ron Nasty (John), whilst Idle plays the band’s Paul-like frontman Dirk McQuicky as part of a world-class cast which also includes Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi, Barry Cryer, George Harrison, Bianca Jagger, Bill Murray and Michael Palin himself. We’re delighted
to have John Halsey AKA Barry Wom (Ringo) appearing in person for a pre-screening discussion with Fab Fools author Jem Roberts – celebrating this timeless mockumentary classic.

EVENT RUNNING TIME APPROX 2 hrs

All you need is cash Rutles

Ode to Joyce

Ode to Joyce

A one-woman homage to Joyce Grenfell

Date: Sunday 19th February 2023
Time: 11.30am
Venue: Bristol Old Vic
Price: £12.00

Cheryl Knight stars in a must-see tribute to Joyce Grenfell (1910 – 1979) whose hilarious and acutely-observed monologues and songs made her a global comedy star last century and inspired many other entertainers including Miranda Hart and the late, great, Victoria Wood.

With a live piano accompaniment. “A wonderful show… leaves you marvelling at Joyce’s wit and wisdom” – Daily Telegraph.

Read more about Cheryl Knight’s Joyce Grenfell here

RUNNING TIME 1 hr 20 mins

SOLD OUT

Cheryl Knight Joyce Grenfell

A Hard Day’s Night

hard days night slapstick
hard days night slapstick
hard days night slapstick

Onscreen: A Hard Day’s Night

With very special guests Mike McCartney in conversation with actor Paul McGann

Date: Sunday 19th February 2023
Time: 12 noon
Venue: Bristol Old Vic
Price: £16.00/£14.00/£11.00

Ranked among the BFI’s top 100 British films and nominated both for a BAFTA and two Oscars, A Hard Day’s Night, in which The Beatles play cheeky comic versions of themselves, captures the astonishing moment when the band officially became the singular, irreverent, idols of their generation and changed music forever.

Their natural comic talent is self-evident throughout, including in several nods paid by the director to his favourite filmmaker: Buster Keaton. It is packed with hit songs and features appearances by many of the 20th century’s best-known entertainers.

This newly restored version will start with a short ‘in conversation’ with Liverpoor born actor Paul Mcgann and Mike McCartney, the younger brother of Sir Paul, a guest at the 1964 Liverpool premiere and lead singer of legendary chart-topping comedy trio, The Scaffold.

(Director: Richard Lester, UK, 1964, 87mins, certificate PG)

RUNNING TIME 1 hr 50 mins