In Photos: Slapstick 2017


In Photos: Slapstick 2017

Above are a series of photos taken during Slapstick 2017, which ran between 25th – 29th January 2017. All events took place either at Colston Hall, Watershed, Bristol Old Vic or Arnolfini.

All images were taken by one of our official festival photographers; Paul LippiattDavid Betteridge and David Gillett.

Click on any  to expand the gallery to full size. The photos will then automatically rotate through the complete set or you can click to speed through them faster.

Day 5 of Slapstick 2017 – A Quick Recap of Yesterday

Day 5 of Slapstick 2017 – A Quick Recap of Yesterday

It’s the morning of the last day of the festival! Yesterday was jam-packed with exciting events at the Watershed and Colston Hall.

The day started with Chris Serle presenting a Fairbanks and Chaplin double bill. This was followed by a conversation with Roy Hudd and a screening of his ‘silent’ comedy, The Maladjusted Busker. Roy Hudd proved quite popular and remained in the cinema auditorium afterwards answering audience questions. Robin Ince had a great chat with Graeme Garden about The Goodies books that have been published, but also books that inspired him. The last event at the Watershed for the day was Neil Innes presenting a rare episode of Colour Me Pop.

The early evening saw the start of our Chaplin Double Bill. Simon Callow did a wonderful job presenting three of Charlie Chaplin’s best comedy shorts. These were accompanied by the always energetic European Silent Screen Virtuosi. The crowd was already buzzing as they left the auditorium and it was brought to an even bigger buzz as the Big R Big Band were playing big band music in the foyer complete with swing dancers!

Saturday evening concluded with a screening of The Great Dictator. A very timely film to be screened given the current political climate! The screening was preceded by music from some great performers including Grace Petrie, Neil Innes, and Ronnie Golden. Chaplin’s rousing speech from the film was met with much deserved applause!

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There is still a day packed full of events left! Accidentally Preserved: Surviving Slapstick on 16mm has already started (our last event at the Watershed). The rest of the day will be at the Bristol Old Vic. We’ve got Barry Cryer discussing his friendship with Tommy Cooper, Jeffrey Holland in his one-man show about Stan Laurel, a revisit of The Young Ones, Colin Sell presenting his favourite British comedy clips, and Alexei Sayle sharing his top comedy moments. All tickets for these events can be booked through the Bristol Old Vic website.

Day Four at Slapstick Festival 2017 – Reliving the Gala

Day Four at Slapstick Festival 2017 – Reliving the Gala

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Last night was our annual Silent Comedy Gala hosted by the wonderful impressionist, Rory Bremner. Topical as always, his Donald Trump was spot-on! He soon had the audience chuckling with his very funny political satire (extremely appropriate considering the timing of the gala with the US Presidential Inauguration)! My personal favourite gag of him as Trump was when he mentioned the protesters would be better suited in a silent film!

The first half of the film consisted of two great shorts – The High Sign starring Buster Keaton and The Finishing Touch with Laurel and Hardy. I think that the whole audience was delighted with the new secret hand signal that we all learned from Buster. Both shorts were accompanied by the dynamic European Silent Screen Virtuosi – it’s almost as fun watching them perform as it is watching the shorts!

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buster 273×300 1

The second half started with an energetic Roy Hudd doing his own impersonation of Max Miller. He sang a couple of old music hall songs and everyone enjoyed the jokes. This was a good warm-up for the main event of the evening, Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman. Always an exciting experience, the film was accompanied by the Bristol Ensemble conducted by Günter A. Buchwald. Everyone was rooting for Lloyd’s attempt at becoming the big man on campus!

This evening sees our Chaplin Double Bill and tomorrow is packed full of great events including Alexei Sayle’s Top Comedy Moments.

Slapstick Festival 2017 – 2 Days In!

Slapstick Festival 2017 – 2 Days In!

It’s Day Two here at the Slapstick Festival – and we are in full swing!

We’ve got our welcome desk set up at the Watershed. If you are coming to one of the events, come and say hello. We’ve also got some great t-shirts, badges, magnets, and posters for sale. They’d make great souvenirs of this year’s festivities!

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Yesterday’s events included NOTFILM, Mon Oncle, Victoria Wood: Let’s Do It, and Shooting Stars. There has been some great audience feedback for yesterday.

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Lucy Porter, Pippa Evans, Andrew Kelly, and Louise Wingrove presented a very funny and touching discussion about the influence of Victoria Wood. A great moment was where instead of the audience asking questions… Lucy and Pippa asked the audience to share their favourite Victoria Wood memories. After a few shy responses, you could tell that people were eager to share!

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Shazia Mirza joined us for a screening of Shooting Stars. After a hilarious introduction, the audience was treated to a romantic thriller with some great insights into how silent films were made. Piano accompaniment was provided for the film by the very talented Daan van den Hurk. We had silent film harpist, Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, provide beautiful music for the short film that was shown as well.

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Today started with David Robinson filling in for Kevin Brownlow to present a screening of Harold Lloyd’s Hot Water. A very funny film that will make you think twice about taking a (live) turkey onto a trolley! Again, we had the wonderful piano accompaniment of Daan van den Hurk.

The audience had some lovely things to say after the screening of Le Soupirant/ The Suitor! It was a great tribute to the late Pierre Étaix, who passed away last year.

Lucy Porter started the afternoon with Why Be Good? starring Colleen Moore and this was followed up by Thomas Graal’s Best Film and the Chaplin short, The Floorwalker (both accompanied by John Sweeney on piano).

As I am writing this, the Watershed is buzzing for our sold-out event for tonight! Robin Ince and Michael Legge will be presenting The People’s Poet: A Celebration of the Stickiest Bogeys of Rik Mayall.

If you haven’t been able to join us so far – there’s still time! Check out our events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

2017: Wednesday

Wednesday 18th January

Wed 18 Jan 2017

NOTFILM (2015)

Watershed | 11.30am | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00
dir. Ross Lipman | US | 130mins

NOTFILM is a documentary about the embattled collaboration between Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett and silent-era genius Buster Keaton as they filmed Beckett’s only on-screen work.

During the restoration of FILM (1965), NOTFILM director Ross Lipman discovered its long-lost prologue under a sink at Barney Rosset’s (producer of FILM) house. He then reconstructed this scene for NOTFILM in strict accordance with Beckett’s original notes. A fascinating insight into Buster’s last ‘silent’ film.

There will be a screening of FILM (1965) at the Arnolfini during ‘When Keaton Met Beckett’ on Friday.

Notfilm image2016
Mon Oncle
Mon Oncle

Jacques Tati: Mon Oncle (1958)

Wed 18 Jan 2017

Watershed | 3.00pm | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00
dir. Jacques Tati | France | 117mins

In keeping with the festival’s celebration of the great silent and visual clowns, we present this screening of Mon Oncle (1958), Jacques Tati’s gentle and brilliantly witty satire on the modern world. Unforgettable moments in this Oscar-winning classic include the dog that won’t open the garage door, M. Hulot’s attempts to run a machine making plastic pipes and his struggles with an automated kitchen. Watch out also for a short appearance by Pierre Étaix, who we celebrate on the Wednesday of Slapstick.

“Deft, illusive, full of heart” – Monthly Film Bulletin.

Introduced by presenter Chris Serle.

Wed 18 Jan 2017

Victoria Wood: Let’s Do It!Celebrating the life and work of Victoria Wood 

Watershed | 5.40pm | Tickets: £9.00/£6.50

Mourning the sudden passing of comedic giant and Slapstick Festival supporter, Victoria Wood, Andrew buy cheap imitrex Kelly (Festival of Ideas) hosts a panel discussion looking at the extraordinary contribution that she made to comedy writing, performance and stand-up.

Stand-up comedians Lucy Porter and Pippa Evans, along with Comedy and Theatre Historian Louise Wingrove from Bristol University, make up the panel.

This event is in partnership with Bristol University and Bristol Festival of Ideas.

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Victoria Wood 1
Shooting Stars
Shooting Stars

Wed 18 Jan 2017

Annette Benson: Shooting Stars (1928)

Watershed | 8.30pm | Tickets: £9.00/£6.50
dir. Anthony Asquith | UK | 70mins

The husband and wife acting team of Mae Feather (Benson) and Julian Gordon gets torn apart when he discovers she is having an affair with the screen comedian Andy Wilks. Mae hatches a plot to kill her husband by putting a real bullet in the prop gun that will be fired at him during the making of their new film, ‘Prairie Love’.
This highly acclaimed British romantic thriller is a departure from our usual ‘laugh out loud’ comedy programme, but it’s more than worthy of inclusion due to the satirical ‘behind the scenes’ silent comedy aspect of the film. With special thanks to the BFI.

PLUS: “What’s the World Coming To?” (1926) | dir. Richard Wallace | US | 23mins | A fantastic, little-known Hal Roach comedy set 100 years in the future when genders have reversed. Starring Clyde Cook and Katherine Grant.

This exquisite double bill of rarely screened silent comedies is introduced by stand-up comedian Shazia Mirza and has a live music accompaniment from Daan van den Hurk and the world’s only Silent movie harpist Elizabeth – Jane Baldry

Slapstick Festival 2017: SUNDAY

Sun 22 Jan 2017

Accidentally Preserved: Surviving Slapstick on 16mm

Watershed | 9.30am | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00

Slapstick comedy shorts were excellent fodder for home movie companies of the 1920s and 1930s. Kodascope and Pathéscope rented or sold safety film prints for people to watch in their homes, not realising that decades later they would out-survive the 35mm versions originally in circulation. This programme contains hilarious rare slapstick shorts starring comedy stars whose work has been largely forgotten.

This event has been curated by Ben Model (silent film historian, accompanist and filmmaker) and will be hosted by Goodie Bill Oddie and Infinite Monkey Cage (Radio 4) star Robin Ince. 

With live accompaniment from Guenter A. Buchwald

STOP PRESS: Due to last minute unforeseen circumstances, Bill Oddie will no longer be appearing at this event. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Sun 22 Jan 2017

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Tommy Cooper: Just Like That! With Barry Cryer

Bristol Old Vic | 11.00am | Tickets: £12.50

National comedy treasure Barry Cryer discusses his working relationship and friendship with legendary magician and comic Tommy Cooper.

Illustrated with classic clips and hosted by writer and comedy historian Robert Ross, this is a chance to rediscover the joyous comedy and pratfalls of Cooper’s stage show – as well as his erratic genius – with someone who knew him well.

Sun 22 Jan 2017

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Jeffrey Holland in

‘…And this is my friend Mr Laurel’

Bristol Old Vic | 1:30PM | Tickets: £12.50

Fulfilling a long-held desire to pay tribute to his hero Stan Laurel, Jeffrey Holland tells this intriguing, funny and often poignant tale of friendship, love and dedication, all about one of Hollywood’s greatest film comedians.

In this production from the Finishing Touch Company, Jeffrey (Hi-de-Hi, You Rang M’Lord) Holland stars as Stan Laurel in his acclaimed biographical one-man show about friendship, memories and remarkable lives.

Set in the bedroom of a sick Oliver Hardy, the show takes place during Laurel’s visit to the dying man. Recounting their past success as the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy, this is a humorous and touching look at one of the great enduring cinematic partnerships of the last century.

Introduced by Ian Lavender.

Sun 22 Jan 2017

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Once In Every Lifetime: The Young Ones Revisited

Bristol Old Vic | 4.15pm | Tickets: £15

Join us as we celebrate the seminal and anarchic eighties comedy The Young Ones (1982-84).

Actor Nigel Planer (Neil the hippie), writer/comedian Alexei Sayle (The Belowski Family), and Lise Mayer (co-writer of the series) will be exploring the origins and social impact of one of the UK’s bravest and most innovative comedies.

With other surprises in store, this promises to be a special one-off celebration of arguably the finest, funniest, most gross-out slapstick comedy of the twentieth century.

Hosted onstage by satirist, writer and stand-up comedian Marcus Brigstocke.

Sun 22 Jan 2017

Colin Sell: In the One and Nines

Bristol Old Vic | 6:45PM | Tickets: £12.50

In this one-man show, Colin Sell (I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Radio 4) takes us on a personal tour of favourite scenes and actors from British comedy films in the days when going to the flicks provided cheap, home-grown entertainment for all ages. He guides us through a golden age of British cinema with Hattie Jacques, Peter Sellers, Irene Handl, Alastair Sim, Margaret Rutherford and more, sharing his love of the old British rib-ticklers.  

Plus a surprise silent comedy short with Colin on piano.

Introduced by Barry Cryer.

Sun 22 Jan 2017

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Alexei Sayle’s Top Comedy Moments

Bristol Old Vic | 21:15PM | Tickets: £12.50

We are delighted to welcome Alexei Sayle to Slapstick Festival to choose his top comedy clips from television and film. Alexei will be exclusively revealing his comic influences and explaining how they have helped shaped his life-long passion for the medium with the aid of clips.

A unique opportunity to spend an evening with the accomplished writer, comedian and actor, who will be in conversation with Infinite Monkey Cage co-host and comedian Robin Ince

Slapstick Festival 2017: SATURDAY

Slapstick Festival 2017: SATURDAY

Sat 21 Jan 2017

Silent Comedy: A Century Ago | A Fairbanks and Chaplin Double Bill

Watershed | 9.30am | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00

Join us for a taste of the ‘flickers’ from a century ago – Saturday morning pictures circa 1916. A classic silent comedy double bill featuring two of the biggest stars of the silent era featuring:

The Matrimaniac (1916)
dir. Paul Powell | US | 44mins

An early Fairbanks outing showcasing his flair for charm, comedy and athleticism. 


The Count (1916)
dir. Charles Chaplin | US | 24mins

The first outing at Slapstick for this little known Mutual film from Charlie’s happiest years of film-making.

Introduced by Kevin Brownlow with live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.

Sat 21 Jan 2017

Join the legendary music hall authority, comedian and actor Roy Hudd as he discusses not only his extensive contribution to comedy through The Hudd Lines (1975-2001), but also his love of Max Miller and his passion for Jacques Tati and Charlie Chaplin.

Radio 3’s Matthew Sweet (Night Waves) hosts this unique opportunity to hear Roy in conversation, before a complete screening of practically unknown and underrated ‘silent’ comedy, the excellent Maladjusted Busker (1966).

Sat 21 Jan 2017

Robin and Not Josie’s Book Shambles: The Goodies

Watershed | 1.20pm | Tickets: £9.00/£6.50

The hugely popular podcast ‘Robin and Josie’s Book Shambles’ comes to Slapstick to interrogate Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie on the books they made as two thirds of the TV comedy trio The Goodies (1970 – 1982). They’ll also be talking about the making of The Goodies Disaster Movie and about the books and the authors that have inspired them.

Sadly, Josie Long is showing off in New York. Michale Legge will be filling her shoes.

STOP PRESS: Due to last minute unforeseen circumstances, Bill Oddie will no longer be appearing at this event. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Sat 21 Jan 2017

Neil Innes presents Unseen Bonzos

Watershed | 3.40pm | Tickets: £9.00/£6.50

A chance to see the Bonzo Dog’s holy grail of lost performances, a newly restored complete episode of Colour Me Pop, a special featuring the Bonzos from 1968, which will be screened in completely restored glory.

Joining us will be Bonzo founding member Neil Innes who’ll be in conversation with BFI TV Consultant Dick Fiddy.

With thanks to the BFI and Chris Perry.

Sat 21 Jan 2017

Simon Callow Presents Chaplin’s Greatest

Comedy Shorts

Colston Hall 17:30pm | Tickets: £10.00/£18.50

Simon Callow who acknowledges the two greatest Londoners, Dickens and Chaplin, as major influences on his own glittering and wide-ranging creations in performance on stage, screen and in literature – presents his personal tribute to Charlie Chaplin and introduces a selection of Chaplin’s finest onscreen short comedies.

Three Mutual masterworks, The Vagabond (1916), Easy Street (1917) and The Pawn Shop (1917) will be accompanied live by the European Silent Screen Virtuosi featuring Günter A. Buchwald (piano and violin), Frank Bockius (percussion) and Romano Todesco (double bass) plus special guest players.

A unique event and a highlight of Bristol’s Slapstick Festival 2017.

Sat 21 Jan 2017

Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)

Colston Hall 20:30 pm | Tickets: £11.50 (incl. booking fees)

If 2016 was your annus horribilis, what better way to spend January 21, the day after America’s presidential inauguration, than in the company of comedians and musicians proving that satire lives and that only comedy can save a world on the brink!
As Simon Wiesenthal put it, “Humour is the weapon of unarmed people” and that weapon was never better used than in Charles Chaplin’s great classic comedy-satire, THE GREAT DICTATOR (1940).
Chaplin has an almost mystical way of becoming ever more relevant as history moves on, and there was never a more fitting time than now for this great satire, with its plea for a world of peace, without totalitarianism, despotism, intolerance and racism.

Charlie will be enthusiastically supported, live, by present-day comedians and musicians including Ronnie Golden, Neil Innes and Grace Petrie.

With special thanks to Kate Guyonvarch and the Chaplin Estate.

Doors open 8 PM.
Film Running Time 125mins (Show ends approx 11.15pm).

Slapstick Festival 2017: FRIDAY

Slapstick Festival 2017: FRIDAY

seven years0
seven years0

Fri 20 Jan 2017

Raymond Griffith: The Silk Hat Comedian

Paths to Paradise (1925)Watershed | 9.30am | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00
dir. Clarence Badger | US | 60mins

Oscar-winning director, historian and silent film champion Kevin Brownlow introduces a rare Raymond Griffith feature, Paths to Paradise, from his personal collection and champions this unsung comic who, whilst mostly forgotten today, produced a series of funny, creative features in the 1920s and was deservedly considered a contemporary of the great silent clowns.

With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.

With thanks to Kevin Brownlow

Fri 20 Jan 2017

Carl Dreyer: Master of the House/ Du Skal Aere Din Hustru (1925)

Watershed | 11.30am | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00
dir. Carl Dreyer | Denmark | 111mins

Don’t be intimidated by the great Danish master and creator of the legendary The Passion of Jean of Arc.  Here, in contrast to that monumental masterwork, he gives us a richly human and engaging story about a frustrated businessman who becomes a tyrannical husband – until he is shaken up and permanently reformed by his wily old former nanny. 

Introduced by BAFTA award winning film editor, Don Fairservice

With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.

With thanks to the BF

Fri 20 Jan 2017

Max Linder: Seven Years Bad Luck (1921)

Arnolfini | 3.30pm | Tickets: £8.00/£6.00
dir. Max Linder | US | 62mins

After breaking a mirror in his home, superstitious Max tries to avoid situations that could bring bad luck, but in doing so causes himself the worst luck imaginable – to hilarious effect!

This rare and relatively late Max Linder film features the much imitated broken mirror sketch, later mimicked by the Marx Brothers, Spike Milligan and even Aardman’s Morph.


Amour Et Fromage (1910)
dir. Max Linder | US | 6mins

This newly discovered and restored early Linder silent comedy short from Lobster Films is a delightful story of love and cheese.

With live piano accompaniment by Daan van den Hurk.

Thanks to Lobster Films.

Fri 20 Jan 2017

When Keaton Met Beckett

Arnolfini | 5.40pm | Tickets: £9.00/£6.50
dir. Alan Schneider | US | 20mins

In 1964 author Samuel Beckett set out on one of the strangest ventures in cinematic history – an embattled collaboration with silent era genius Buster Keaton on the production of a short, titleless avant-garde film. Beckett was nearing the peak of his fame, which would culminate in him receiving a Nobel Prize five years later. Keaton, in his waning years, never lived to see Beckett’s canonisation. In essence a chase film – one of the craziest ever committed to celluloid – the film they made, along with director Alan Schneider, renegade publisher Barney Rosset and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Boris Kaufman, has been the subject of praise, condemnation, and controversy for decades.

Robin Ince presents a newly restored version of FILM and, with special guests, will not only tell the story behind it but will also talk about why comedians are so fascinated with Beckett.

Includes a full screening of FILM (1965). 

With thanks to the BFI.

Fri 20 Jan 2017

Silent Comedy Gala

Colston Hall | 7.30pm | Tickets: £10.75-£27.00

The host for this year’s Gala Show is the incomparable impressionist and comedian, Rory Bremner who will introduce the triple bill of laugh out loud comedy classics.

The spirit of the 1920s & 30s is embodied in a special appearance from singer, actor, and national treasure Roy Hudd who will be making a rare appearance to perform as that ‘cheeky chappie’ of music hall fame, Max Miller.

Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman (1925) will be shown in full at our annual gala show, accompanied by the 25-piece Bristol Ensemble orchestra conducted by Guenter A Buchwald, playing composer Carl Davis’s brilliant score.

In addition, two classic short comedies, The Finishing Touch (1928) starring Laurel & Hardy PLUS Buster Keaton’s The High Sign (1921) will be shown, accompanied by The European Silent Screen Virtuosi.

fantastic comedian guitarist and singer will also be performing at the gala night in the foyer from 6:30-7:15pm
Founder of the band The Fabulous Poodles, Golden then swiftly moved onto stand-up as a member of The Comic Strip (regulars included Rik Mayall, Ben Elton and Alexei Sayle.)
Golden is now the frontman for Ronnie and the Rex, and writes songs and sketches for BBC 4’s The Right Time.

Slapstick’s Gala writes the Bristol Post, is “a Bristol Institution”.
Book early to be sure you are a part of it.
With thanks to Park Circus.

Silent Comedy Gala 2017

Silent Comedy Gala 2017

featuring Harold Lloyd’s classic comedy THE FRESHMAN (1925) with live orchestra

Fri 20 Jan 2017 | Colston Hall | 7:30PM
Tickets: £10.00/£25.00/£27.00 including fees

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Our annual comedy celebration returns for a lucky thirteenth edition – a unique celebration of the best onscreen classic silent comedy, live music and guest appearances by living legends of British comedy.

As usual, the national comedy treasures of our own time come together to pay tribute to the legendary comedians of the past.

Harold Lloyd, a superb athlete masquerading as a good-natured bespectacled idiot, created the “thrill” comedy; and his masterpiece The Freshman (1925) mined all the comic possibilities of the college campus generations before Animal House or Pitch Perfect.  Its massive box-office receipts helped Lloyd to outclass the commercial success even of Chaplin and Keaton  in the 1920s; and it was one of the first films  selected for permanent preservation in the United States National Film Registry

Now restored to its original visual brilliance, The Freshman will be accompanied by the famous score composed by Carl Davis, with the 25-piece Bristol Ensemble conducted by Guenter A Buchwald.

The programme also includes the incomparable Laurel & Hardy in one of their best silent comedy shorts with new live accompaniment. In The Finishing Touch (1928) they are employed as professional “house finishers”, and live up to the title – though not quite as their employer anticipates!

The indispensable Buster Keaton will be seen in his first independent short production The High Sign, in which he is inadvertently hired as hitman both by the murderous gang of the Blinking Buzzards and by the man he is to liquidate.  This small masterpiece will be accompanied by The European Silent Screen Virtuosi.

Make sure you don’t miss out!