Comedy Gala at Colston Hall
Slapstick Festival’s annual celebration of silent comedy returns to Colston Hall for a 12th year, beginning with a special triple bill. Charlie Chaplin’s first feature film, THE KID (1921) is rightly considered a cinematic masterpiece. This is a UK premiere of Chaplin’s own score performed live by a 15-piece orchestra – the Bristol Ensemble. The evening also features two other classic clowns: Charley Chase, and that great master of the stone-face, Buster Keaton, in their own silent mini-masterpieces. With a special guest host to be announced*, and other surprises, there’s no better way to brighten up those gloomy January nights. Book early to avoid disappointment! *Previous hosts include: Victoria Wood, Chris Addison and Griff Rhys Jones.
Seeing Double! Morph & Chas
With Peter Lord and Richard Herring SAT 17 Jan 2015 Watershed 1400hrs £8.00/£6.50
Following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, the iconic clay character Morph and his mischievous pal Chas are back with a new series of Aardman mini-adventures. To kick-off the festival’s comedy double acts ‘Seeing Double!’ programme, Morph’s creator Peter Lord will be in conversation with stand up comedian Richard Herring as he shares a selection of classic and new Morph clips and exclusively reveals the final episode in the new Morph series (“Chas Express”).
Richard Herring is British Comedian, Writer and Morph admirer. Presently on tour with Lord of the Dance Settee.
Slapstick International: Die Puppe/The Doll (1919)
introduced by David Robinson
THUR 22 JAN 1130hrs Watershed £6.50/£5.00 Dir: Ernst Lubitsch GER 60mins
DIE PUPPE / THE DOLL (1919) is an intriguing early fantasy comedy from master film-maker Ernst Lubitsch. This passionate story of romance and deception is strikingly illuminated by characteristic German cinematography. Forced to marry by his uncle, Lancelot finds himself married to no ordinary doll! Hilarious comedy ensues as the plot unravels. Introduced by David Robinson, film historian Director of the ‘Giornate Cinema Del Muto’ film festival. Accompanied by Barbara Lenz live on Piano.
With special thanks to the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung archive.
Ladies Night in A Turkish Bath (1928) With Kevin Brownlow
THUR 22 JAN Watershed 1400hrs £8.00/£6.50 Dir: Edward F. Cline US 70mins
A delightful comedy featuring the irascible Laurel & Hardy co-star James Finlayson as Pa Slocum. Ma and Pa Slocum sell up their thriving packed-lunch business (Ma’s very own home cooking!) to move ‘uptown’, with dreams to live an idle rich life on the proceeds. Things don’t quite go to plan and events culminate in a family quarrel with the men seeking solace at a raunchy club, and the women having to resort to the Turkish Baths! And the night isn’t over yet!
Introduced by Oscar© winning director and film historian Kevin Brownlow.
With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney.
Lost Clowns: Harry Watson Jr
The Mishaps of Musty Suffer
With Bill Oddie FRI 23 Jan Watershed 1000hrs £6.50/£5.00
“The Mishaps of Musty Suffer” is a cartoon-like and surreal silent comedy film series produced in 1916 and 1917. Wildly popular during its original release it has been oddly overlooked, neglected and practically unseen ever since. Chronicling the misadventures of put-upon tramp Musty Suffer, its star is the equally forgotten Harry Watson Jr., a popular stage clown who graduated from vaudeville to film. This programme is curated by Steve Massa and Ben Model using films newly transferred in HD from master materials preserved by the Library of Congress.
Accompanied live on piano by John Sweeney.
Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?
With Vera Iwerebor FRI 23 JAN 2015 Watershed 1200hrs £6.50/£5.00
Baby Peggy was one of the most bankable stars of the silent film era, making 150 films in less than five years – all the more astonishing due to the fact she was only 19 months old when she made her screen debut. Now an author and activist, Diana Serra Cary (AKA Baby Peggy) is featured in this enthralling documentary recalling her infancy spent as a million-dollar asset of the Studio System.
Diana Serra Cary was a Slapstick Festival guest back in 2006 and has been a festival patron ever since. We are delighted to share that she has recorded a special message for the festival audience.
Featuring: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM (2012) Dir Vera Iwebor Netherlands 58mins PLUS Baby Peggy classic short SUCH IS LIFE (1924) Dir Alfred J Goulding US 17mins.
Accompanied live by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry on solo harp.
Lost Clowns: Eddie Cantor Introduced by Kevin Brownlow
SPECIAL DELIVERY (1927)
FRI 23 Jan 2015 Watershed 1500hrs £8.00/£6.50 Dir: Roscoe Arbuckle (as William Goodrich) US 60mins
Eddie Cantor, began his career in vaudeville. He appeared on Broadway and in many films until the 1950’s. SPECIAL DELIVERY, his second screen comedy, is about a thoughtful but blundering mail carrier, who is in love with Madge, a waitress equally admired by other rivals. Eddie, who can’t dance, wins a coin toss to escort Madge to the postal ball. Slapstick ensues with two interfering detectives, Madge’s fiancé, plenty of dancing and some elaborate chase sequences! This film is rarely screened and emulates Cantor’s comic talents wonderfully.
With live musical accompaniment by John Sweeny
Live Performance: Hats Off to Laurel & Hardy
With Philip Hutchinson and Tony Carpenter
FRI 23 JAN Watershed, Waterside 3 1715hrs £8.00/£6.50
Earning rave five star reviews at the 2014 Brighton Fringe, ‘Hats Off To Laurel & Hardy’ is Lucky Dog’s homage to the lives of Arthur Stanley Jefferson and Oliver Norvell Hardy. Showcasing their early lives, steady rise to international stardom and later phoenix-like revival, the show passionately reveals Stan and Ollie’s commitment to their work, their appreciation of the fans and devotion to one another. Expect recreated highlights from their huge canon of work, accompanied by a little singing and some questionable dancing. Introduced by Ian Lavender.
Show running time approx 75 mins.
SILENT COMEDY GALA
Hosted by Chris Addison, and featuring Rick Wakeman
Showcasing Buster Keaton’s comic masterpiece SEVEN CHANCES (1925) featuring the world premiere of new score composed by Gunter A. Buchwald and performed by Bristol Ensemble and two classic comedy shorts.
Colston Hall, Friday, 23rd January 2015 7.30pm
£10-£25 (including booking fees)
Slapstick Festival’s annual sell out Silent Comedy Gala returns, hosted by stand-up comedian, writer, director and actor Chris Addison. Featuring Buster Keaton’s break-through film SEVEN CHANCES (1925) headlining the evening’s entertainment.
A sensational hit with audiences at the time, SEVEN CHANCES is cited by film historians as one of Keaton’s finest silent comedies. Buster, discovering he stands to inherit his grandfather’s fortune providing he marries by 7pm that very day, ventures out to find a bride. With all Keaton’s trademark sight gags, this film features one of cinemas most memorable sequences – the ever daring Buster dodges a comedic avalanche of rocks AND a mob of would be brides!
Other films include big screen showings of Charlie Chaplin’s satirical masterpiece THE IMMIGRANT (1917), accompanied live by the European Silent Screen Virtuosi and a classic tit-for-tat caper BIG BUSINESS (1929) starring Laurel & Hardy, accompanied by keyboard legend Rick Wakeman on piano.
The Slapstick 2015 gala promises to be a night to remember!