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Slapstick Takeover

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Part of Slapstick Festival 2018

Slapstick - Europe's biggest and best festival of silent, visual and classic comedy - returns to Bristol for its 14th annual edition, bringing with it a full weekend of special events at Bristol Old Vic.

Across seven screenings, presentations and rarely-seen archive classics, this year's line-up is fronted by national treasure Barry Cryer (The Two Ronnies), followed by a reunion of the mock heavy-metal band Bad News (The Comic Strip Presents) with Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer.

Among the other guests are Rowland Rivron of Raw Sex and French & Saunders fame and legendary comedy Trio 'The Goodies', topped off by an array of side-splitting comedy moments from leading comedian Jo Brand.

With yet more surprises to come, this year's Slapstick Takeover promises to be the finest and funniest comedy blowout of the year.


Why I Love the Two Ronnies with Barry Cryer

Sat 27 Jan | 11.15am

‘And in a packed programme...' national comedy treasure Barry Cryer discusses his working relationship and friendship with legendary comic actors Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. Illustrated with classic clips and hosted by writer and comedy historian Robert Ross, this is a rare chance to rediscover the joyous comedy of one of our best-loved comedy double acts with someone who both wrote for them and knew them well.


The Goodies present... Buster Keaton Classics (& Rarities)

Sat 27 Jan | 1.30pm

Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden are joined by a virtual (onscreen) Tim Brooke-Taylor to celebrate and illustrate their love of comedy master Buster Keaton. Here, they celebrate their mutual passion for "The Great Stone Face" by presenting three of Buster's finest and funniest silent comedy shorts, including Buster's mini masterpieces The Play House (1921), The Boat (1921) and The Electric House (1922), which will be screened along with rare archival clips and surprises from collectors & libraries around the world.

With live accompaniment from multi-instrumentalist Stephen Horne.


Raw Sex with Roland Rivron

Sun 28 Jan | 11.15am

It was on French & Saunders that the unlikely duo Raw Sex was born. Acting as Dawn and Jennifer's house band, Simon Brint and Rowland Rivron played father and son Ken and Duane Bishop with Ken (Brint) on keyboards and the slobby, often drunken Duane (Rivron) on bongos. During their time on the show, the duo performed skits as Abba and The Pet Shop Boys but it is as the shambolic Ken and Duane that they are most affectionately remembered. Developed as an act in its own right outside of French & Saunders, their popularity was such that they even created a feature film, There's No Business (1994), which went on to become a cult comedy classic. In recent years, Rowland and Simon have become members of the Idiot Bastard Band - performing live shows alongside Adrian Edmondson, Phill Jupitus and Neil Innes.

With extracts and highlights form their career, Rowland discusses this absurd, hugely influential and brilliant double act in conversation with comedian and writer Robin Ince.


Jo Brand's Top Comedy Moments

Sun 28 Jan | 2pm

Please note that this event features strong language

This year, we are delighted to welcome actor, writer, director and comedian Jo Brand into the world of Slapstick as she chooses her top comedy moments from television and film. Brand has an impressive list of credits which include appearances in Bake Off: Extra Slice, Getting On, Damned, QI, Have I Got News for You and many more. A comedy icon in her own right with an exemplary career in stand up comedy, join us to discover what makes her laugh, who her comedy heroes are and what makes her top comedy choices and why. In conversation with Matthew Sweet (BBC Radio 3, Free Thinking).

A guaranteed highlight of the Festival that's sure to sell out!


Bad News with Ade Edmondson and Nigel Planer

Sun 28 Jan | 5.30pm


Bad News made their television debut in 1983 during the first series of The Comic Strip Presents... (written by Edmondson). The episode, "Bad News Tour", took the form of a satirical fly-on-the-wall rockumentary, tracking the misadventures of a hapless British heavy metal band on tour. Following a screening of the episode, Adrian Edmondson (Vim Fuego - Vocals, lead guitar) and Nigel Planer (Den Dennis - Rhythm guitar) join us to discuss its phenomenal success and legacy, which led to sequel "More Bad News" (1988), copious hit singles, three albums and a multitude of live shows that culminated in a legendary appearance at Monster of Rock, Castle Donnington in 1986. Adrian and Nigel will be in conversation with The Infinite Monkey Cage's (BBC Radio 4) co-host and stand up comedian Robin Ince.


Laurel & Hardy and The Marx Brothers with Robin Ince

Sun 28 Jan | 8.00pm


What better way to end Slapstick's 14th comedy festival than to sit back and enjoy the ingenuity and downright genius of two of the world's finest comedy ensembles of all time.  This classic double bill from the 1930s includes a rare big screen outing for Stan & Ollie's masterwork of double acting Our Relations (1936) where the boys find themselves in ‘another fine mess' due to their identical twin brothers. The irascible Marx Brothers make their Slapstick Festival debut in their undisputed comic masterpiece Duck Soup (1933) featuring the famous  - and often mimicked - Groucho's mirror sequence.


Slapstick Takeover

27-28 Jan
Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Various prices


Last summer, we began redevelopment works to transform our front of house King Street entrance into a welcoming, vibrant space that everyone will be able to enjoy. During this time, it will be business as usual in the Theatre with our brilliant programme on offer, however there are a few changes to how we'll be operating.

Theatre Entrance

You are now invited to enter the Theatre through our Stage Door, walking in the footsteps of theatre legends such as Peter O'Toole, Daniel Day Lewis and Miranda Richardson.

Our new Theatre entrance can be accessed via Rackhay (BS1 4HJ) off Queen Charlotte Street, around the corner from King Street.

Click here for more information and updates on our Theatre entrance.

Ticket Collection

On performance days, tickets can be collected from Box Office situated in our Backstage Bar opening 90 mins prior to each performance.

For more information on accessibility, ticket collection, our Backstage Bar, arrival and drop-off at our Theatre plus updates on our redevelopment,click here.

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