Monday, 29 December 2014

Band For Life - Michael Brown, new on Youtube


Freshly unearthed from the vaults and uploaded to Youtube, a classic from the very early days of The Sitcom Trials - Band For Life performing Michael Brown.

From an early incarnation of The Sitcom Trials, in Bristol 1997, a rare musical sitcom Band For Life features the song Michael Brown. With an early appearance by Inbetweeners creator-to-be Iain Morris, then a student at Bristol University. Also features Helen Stone on vocals, Darren Hoskins, Rob Hughes, Gareth Hughes, Edward Grassby, Barnaby Curtis, Jim Warren and Kev F Sutherland.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Good Little Boy - a new play from The Sitcom Trials



The Sitcom Trials Presents:

Sit Still. Keep Quiet. Play Nicely

Good Little Boy

A One-Act Comedy
by Lewis Cook


Mild-mannered school janitor George is desperate to win back his estranged wife, the breathtakingly self-absorbed Lesley. But she is inexplicably attracted to a cruel and loathsome lay-about, and George finds himself loveless, homeless and hopeless. 

Driven to despair and beset by loneliness, George finally reaches breaking point and, in a moment of madness, he lashes out with grave consequences. As events spiral out of control, George finds his Jenga tower of deception becoming ever more precarious.

A darkly hilarious examination of infidelity, morality and Monopoly, Good Little Boy is a funny and quirky new play from the team behind The Sitcom Trials, Checkpoint Dave, and Barbara & Jeffrey.

Good Little Boy is at the Wardrobe Theatre, above The White Bear, St Michaels Hill Bristol, from the 26th - 30th January 2015. Tickets and details here.

Writer Lewis Cook was a runner up in the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe So You Think You Write Funny? competition, held at the prestigious Gilded Balloon. A stalwart of the Sitcom Trials team – a competition he won twice – Lewis is one half of the double-act Cook and Davies, whose acclaimed sketch show Planet Earth And All Who Sailed In Her took the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe by storm.

Veep

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sitcom Trials 10th Anniversary season revisited

At this time 5 years ago, The Sitcom Trials was enjoying its 10th anniversary season at the Leicester Square Theatre in London. Its Grand Final looked a bit like this...



The heats and semi-final ran for eight weeks, under the aegis of producer James Parker, whose praise I am happy to sing again. No-one before or since has run such an intense season of the Trials, which entailed two performances a night (the only way to break even in the 50 seater studio theatre).

In this video, some of the judges from 2009's Sitcom Trials season give their tips on writing comedy. Including David (TV Burp) Quantick, Iain (Inbetweeners) Morris, Carrie (News Quiz) Quinlan, Marc (How Not To Write A Sitcom) Blake, Richard (Whose Line..?) Vranch, Nev (Dead Ringers) Fountain and Daniel (also TV Burp) Maier.



Judges that got away include Laura (School Of Comedy) Lawson and Roland (Land Girls) Moore, who appear in the videos from the show but whose clips I lost, and Tom Price, Wanda Opalinska and Bill Dare all of whom I interviewed having pressed pause instead of record. 

You can read much more about, and see clips of, the Sitcom Trials 10th Anniversary Season in blogs from the opening night, the semi-finals and all points inbetween. Parts of them are excellent.

There are plans afoot for the revival of the Sitcom Trials in Bristol and Manchester in 2015, so watch this space for news.




Friday, 26 September 2014

Fall Girl in London

Oh hello!

Did you miss Fall girl by Sitcom Trials winner Rosie Holt at the Gilded Balloon this August?

 The sad, happy, silly, catchy, filthy, fluffy, dark, cringy, yet ultimately uplifting tale of being scammed in the city?

 

 You did miss it?!  And as a result have you felt strangely bereft, as if you are missing some fundamental piece of joy that you didn't realise you truly needed until now?? 

You saw it?!  Yet have you been dying to revisit its bonkers, toe-tapping, tune humming, giggle-making universe just one last time???


YOU ARE IN LUCK! Fall girl is back in London!


 


To get tickets (£9.50 (£7.50 concessions)) visit the Canal Cafe website here:
http://www.canalcafetheatre.com/EventPage.php?EventId=29907

To find out more about Fall Girl visit our website here: http://www.fallgirl.co.uk/

Come along and be as happy as Hayley in the picture above!

The Fall Girl team xxx

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sitcom Trials slight return in Cardiff

The Sitcom Trials made a small return of sorts last night when Bristol Alumni Simon Winkler and Jason Stevens staged a mini-Trials for the guests at Tammy's birthday and graduation party. With the able assistance of actresses Liz Morgan (the voice of Destiny Angel in Captain Scarlet, now you ask) and Pameli Bentham, they performed classic Trials script Man's Best Friend by Roland Moore, to the amusement of a small crowd of family and friends. Because of pressure of time, they didn't actually do the Trials format, but this was a pleasant nostalgic throwback from the team who'd had such fun doing the Trials circa 2005.

As you can see from the photo, fellow Trials graduates The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre also performed. And as you can also also see, the lighting was from LED lights which always photograph in that weird "blue is the new black" way. How does that work?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Best comedy shows in Vegas

One of the best known places in the world to gamble is the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Here hundreds of casinos are congregated in one place making it quite easy to enjoy gambling in numerous venues while on holiday. Additionally, the Vegas casinos also offer numerous other entertainment options for their guests, a somewhat important addition given that casino games are offered online nowadays at sites like River Belle. One of these includes comedy shows. Many casinos offer their own as part of their overall entertainment package.

Aces of Comedy is one of the best comedy shows. Located at the Mirage Casino, this particular show has won awards over the years. Top tier comedians perform here, many well-known names. For instance, Ron White, Wayne Brady, Kathy Griffin, Jay Leno and Ray Romano are just a few of the performers who have been showcased at the Aces of Comedy.

The Improv at Harrah’s Las Vegas is another place that visitors should go to if they want amusing entertainment. This show has been voted number one year after year. There are two shows every night which makes it easy to fit in some humour around one’s casino gambling time. The first show commences at 8:30 pm and the second at 10:00 pm. Three comedians perform every show and often will stick around after to visit with guests and sign autographs.

A third comedy show to visit while in Las Vegas is Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM Grand. Headliner Brad Garrett appears here frequently along with guests. Shows last for 90 minutes and begin daily at 8:00 pm. Ticket prices vary and generally are cheaper on the dates that Brad Garrett isn’t scheduled to perform. When Brad is performing, he can often be found at the front door prior to shows greeting his guests. The venue was built specifically for this purpose and is quite new.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sitcom Trials winners at this year's Edinburgh Fringe

Don't miss the winner of last year's Sitcom Trials So You Think You're Funny, Rosie Holt, whose prize was her own show at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.

Image

Fall Girl runs at the Gilded Balloon throughout August.

Also from last year's Sitcom Trials final, at Edinburgh this year, you must not miss:

Carter & Ollerton: Won't Go Quietly at CowgateHead

Cook & Davies present: Planet Earth & All Who Sail In Her at Just The Tonic's Caves

(and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, obviously, but modesty forbids...)
 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Amen - from Sitcom Trials 2014


Click to play the full performance of Amen, from the Sitcom Trials in Bristol April 2014. Written by Gwen Cheeseman, Jen Cockburn, Aja Scanlon and Ella Vize.

 The video with clips from the whole evening's 5 sitcoms is here, and the full video of the winning sitcom Good Grief is here. These are the only two sitcoms recorded in full from the show, but that's more than usual so do please enjoy.

Stay tuned for details of future Sitcom Trials.

 



Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sitcom Trials double bill (of sorts) in Surrey

Stretching The Sitcom Trials connection to the limit (for want of any Trials news as much as anything else) there's what one might call a Sitcom Trials related double bill on in Redhill, Surrey on Friday 24th April. Mark Dolan, presenter of the Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny final in Edinburgh in 2013 is on, along with The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (who made their universal debut as part of the Shakespearian Sitcom Trials in 2005 and presented the Trials final in London on 2009).

That, sadly, is where the Sitcom Trials link ends, but it's always worth remembering there's life after the Trials. Stay tuned for news of the Trials themselves.



Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sitcom Trials Bristol April 2014 - the video(s)



And here, for your pleasure, is a video of the highlights from The Sitcom Trials in Bristol, April 4 2014 (click to play). Five excellent sitcoms, with a well deserved winner. Enjoy the clips.

And here, with the blessing of author Rupert Aspden, is the winning sitcom in its entirety:



And I learn, via Simon Wright on the Comedy Forums, that three of the four runners up were developed courtesy of our sister show The Sitcom Mission.  Writers Gwen Cheeseman, Jen Cockburn, Aja Scanlon, Ella Vize (Amen), Joe Brand (Civil Defence) and James (And The Lord Said) Alleyne's scripts were developed through the Sitcom Mission's City Academy workshops.  Congratulations all.

The next Sitcom Trials is... yet to be announced, Watch this space, and Facebook and Twitter, for news.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Sitcom Trials Bristol April 4th report

The latest Sitcom Trials took place in Bristol on April 4th, under the expert control of long time producer Vince Stadon who is, very sadly, stepping down from the show. For the last three years he has run the consistently most professional and well attended Sitcom Trials you could imagine, tonight's being a splendid swan song.

The sitcoms in contention were
"Amen" by Gwen Cheeseman, Jen Cockburn, Aja Scanlon and Ella Vize
"A Civil Defence Matter" by Joe Brand
"Good Grief" by Rupert Aspden
"Pub" by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
"And the Lord Said" by James Alleyne.

And the winner, announced by tonight's brilliant co-hosts Naomi Carter and Laura Ollerton, was Good Grief by Rupert Aspden, an impressive medical comedy, performed by John Lomas and Naomi with Kevin Restall (who last appeared in the Trials way back in 2006, welcome back).

You can see, from the group photo, that the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre guested with their sitcom Pub, and came joint fourth along with the others (Good Grief really did win by a landslide).

Will the Bristol Sitcom Trials survive without Vince? Who knows? Watch this space.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sitcom Trials Bristol April 4th - book now

The Sitcom Trials returns to Bristol on Friday April 4th, with 5 brand new sitcoms going head to head and you choosing the best.

Details and tickets

The five sitcoms are (in no particular order):
"Pub" by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
"Amen" by Gwen Cheeseman, Jen Cockburn, Aja Scanlon and Ella Vize
"A Civil Defence Matter" by Joe Brand
"Good Grief" by Rupert Aspden
"And the Lord Said" by James Alleyne.

In addition the team will be performing a short skit, written by a few of the team, based on the winning Pitch Fest entry from our last show back in November. Chris Dennis came up with the winning entry, which is called "You Aint Half Hot Mum".

Book now, we'll see you all there and then.

The Sitcom Trials, The Wardrobe Theatre above The White Bear, 133 St Michaels Hill, Bristol BS2 8BS






Saturday, 1 March 2014

Time To Vote (everyone welcome) - Bristol Sitcom Trials

TIME TO VOTE (Everyone welcome) - Deadline midnight Sunday 9th March, 2014


Right everyone. There are 37 scripts at the Sitcom Trials egroup which are in contention for the Bristol show at the Wardrobe Theatre on Friday 4th April(tickets on sale now).
You can find them all here:
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SitsVac/files/Bristol%20April%202014/

I'd like you all to read, review and vote on them now. You post your votes here in this forum, or over in the other forum, choice is yours.
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/SitsVac/
http://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/29634/

Vote YES, MAYBE or NO to every script you read, and give a brief review of each to prove you've read it, and to provide valuable feedback.
Please be honest yet tactful ("Didn't find the characters interesting, and the gags fell flat" is preferable to "This was shit and made my eyes bleed"). It would be very helpful if you could list your reviews in alphabetical order, and post them all together.
Deadline for voting - midnight Sunday 9th March, 2014
Don't worry if you don't get to read them all, but it would be splendid if you possibly can.
Your votes are counted Yes=2, MAYBE=1, NO= minus 1. So anything you don't vote on doesn't affect the figures.
The top ten scoring scripts will be read by the team and FOUR will be performed at the Wardrobe Theatre on Friday April 4th (unless deemed unstageable - we're unlikely to have the resources to properly do justice to a sitcom set directly after the Tet Offensive and featuring a flotilla of helicopter gunships dropping napalm on villages... with hilarious consequences).

The scripts are (in alphabetical order):
A Civil Defence Matter
A Power Struggle (Rodeway)
A Swiss Connection
AMEN - Coke Break
And the Lord Said
Anything for the weekend
BANKERS
Becky the Squirrel
Black Cab Detective - An Eye Test
Black Cab Detective - Blow my Fuses!
Bulldog Rusholme - Marriage Councillor
CEO (Episode One: The Interview)
Cloud Nine: Pilot
DAVE
Divorce (Private People)
First Position (Episode Three: Vanessa's Big Break)
Fletcher Mallard - Classified
GAME OF SHOPS (Episode One: Office Magic)
Gems - Ready Meals
Good Grief
Hurricane Virginia
Ivory Towers (Episode One: Testing Times)
Jungle Fury
Living With Paul (Episode One)
Nat - The Worms
Open Mic Night (Episode One)
PS I Hate You (Episode One: The War of the Roses)
Real-True Spiritual Shop
School Of Hard Knocks
Seen!
The Fundamentals
The London Bucket List
The Sirens Coming - Pilot
The Terror Merchants
TICKING OVER - Going Nowhere Fast
Tragedy
XXX (Episode One)

Best of luck to everyone who's entered, and have fun reviewing and voting!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Scrotal Recall: does the title of this new comedy cross the line?

via The Guardian:

Scrotal Recall: does the title of this new comedy cross the line?

The naming of a TV programme is becoming an increasingly salacious business, but are these provocative titles more off-putting than enticing?
E4's Beaver Falls.
E4's Beaver Falls. Photograph: Charles Fearn/Channel 4sn
Let me put it all out there – it takes balls to call your sitcom Scrotal Recall. This week, Channel 4 announced they'd ordered a full six-part series of the show after scrutinising an (unaired) pilot episode and deciding it was definitely their bag. The pitch is high-concept with a dose of low humour: a man is diagnosed with chlamydia and has to track down everyone he's ever slept with to share the unfortunate news. It's My Name is Earl with an STI twist, and one of those rare comedic premises that has built-in long-term prospects. By dealing with a new old flame every episode – literally, a case of the week – this one could run and run.
In many ways, the title deserves a clap: Scrotal Recall is thematically appropriate, pop culture-savvy, funny in and of itself, and provocative enough to cut through the noise. It practically screams: "This is how you name a sitcom in the age of Reddit." And yet, it also feels like a rubicon has been crossed, that the salacious terminology pioneered by Channel 5 and BBC3 shock-docs has splashed about and infected everything else. Even the (purposefully funny) Channel 4 Press Twitter account couldn't quite say the S-word when it confirmed the commission.
Perhaps it's the inevitable drift into conservatism that comes with ageing, but there have been an increasing number of recent comedies I've struggled to embrace, primarily because of what they're called. Shows such as BBC3's gymslip-mum sitcom Pramface (more warm-hearted than that title suggests) and retired sketch show Tittybangbang. I can just about handle Psychobitches on Sky Arts, but a part of me is still always thinking: do we have to call them bitches? Even Fresh Meat – a sitcom I watch, enjoy and admire – causes an unpleasant shiver every time it pops up on the EPG. (There's a predatory charge to that title, or perhaps I'm just squeamish about meat.) Thankfully, it was possible to skip E4's Beaver Falls without feeling as if you were excluding yourself from the wider cultural conversation.

Plebs" 

In the US, the smart thing to do seems to be to play it safe. In the rare situation where they're not named after key talent, the comedy hits and warhorses tend to have quite bland names: Taxi, Cheers, Friends. Of the current crop of US sitcoms that have thrived or even just survived – shows such as Modern Family, New Girl and The Millers – boundary-pushing titles do not seem a major feature. The last time a US network rolled the dice on something with a potentially pathbreaking name, it was adapting popular Twitter account Shit My Dad Says, though someone's shift key must have been stuck, since it arrived on-screen as $#*! My Dad Says. Astonishingly, that particular William Shatner vehicle was not one for the ages.
For as long as Courteney Cox's cabernet-powered sitcom Cougar Town has been on air, creator Bill Lawrence has publicly wrestled with the long shadow of its awful name, a crass clunker of a title that now has zero bearing on the characters or content. Meanwhile, on US cable, a long-running sitcom that contains the worst, most transgressive, hypnotically hateful characters on TV goes by the deceptively saccharine handle It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, when it could – and perhaps should – have been named Drunk Selfish Assholes Who Despise Each Other.
There is clearly an art to coining just the right title. The apparent banality of The Office turned out to be the key to universality. In their own apposite ways, Men Behaving Badly and Curb Your Enthusiasm are perfect synecdoches of their subject matter. Hebburn sums up that show's community-minded vibe perfectly, and is also just fun to say. And a recent BBC3 sitcom had enough sex and slobbishness to justify a salacious title – "coming up next: Sticky Sheets" – but ultimately went with Him & Her, a casual declaration of implied familiarity that hinted at the heart buried somewhere under all the pizza boxes and dirty washing.
Were things different in the old days? Viewed through the telescope of history, Only Fools and Horses sounds like an evocative and wise title. But the 9 milllion or so viewers who tuned in to the first series in 1981 had no idea what it actually meant – the BBC only used writer John Sullivan's self-composed theme tune, with explanatory lyrics, from series two onwards. Perhaps in 30 years we'll be talking about the first series of Scrotal Recall with the same respect and reverence.
Are there sitcom titles that have put you off watching? Let us know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Sitcom Trials April 4th - enter now! Deadline Feb 28th


Hello!

The Bristol team will be staging a Sitcom Trials show at the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol, on Friday April 4th, and we're welcoming script submissions. At least THREE scripts from this competition will be performed by the team.

http://thewardrobetheatre.com/#/the-sitcom-trials/4578792935

THE BRIEF for submission to The Bristol Sitcom Trials.

The Sitcom Trials wants situation comedy scripts that a small group of actors can perform in a live environment with minimal stage in front of an audience, who will hopefully laugh. Ideally these sitcoms will be so marvelous that the TV & radio industry representatives in the audience (should there be any) will snap them up immediately.

THE FORMAT:

Your script must have a first 'half' of less than 8 minutes.
This first half should end in a cliffhanger, or something that leaves the audience wanting more.

It must then have a final scene of 2 or 3 minutes long. This will be performed only if your sitcom is the winner on the night

Scripts should come in at around 12 pages.

Your script must have NO MORE THAN 4 CHARACTERS. (We're flexible on this, but it's good to keep it focused on just a few characters)

The sitcoms we are to test out in our regular pub theatre shows with an eye to them being developed for TV must be PERFORMABLE LIVE (ie no filmed or location inserts)
&
ON ONE MINIMAL SET.

Think in terms of a radio script.

Please put your name, email address, and the title of your sitcom on the first page of your script, and send it as a PDF file.

UPLOAD SCRIPTS TO THE FILES:

Upload your entries to the appropriate folder in the files section of the egroup. You will need to join the free egroup to do so:

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SitsVac/files

The folder is named "Bristol April 2014"

And you can find a handy VOTE and REVIEW thing on the spangly Sitcom Trials website:

http://sitcomtrials.blogspot.co.uk/

Deadline for entries - midnight Friday 28th February, 2014
Deadline for voting - midnight Sunday 9th March, 2014

The read-through with the Bristol team will be on Saturday 15th March, after which we'll announce which scripts have made it through.

VOTING:

All members of the SitsVac egroup/British Comedy Guide Sitcom Trials thread, you included, will be invited to read, review, and vote on all scripts in contention. Vote YES, MAYBE or NO as to each one's potential and add a short one paragraph review. Your votes will not be counted unless you include a review.

Send reviews to the SitsVac TV group message board, or to the Sitcom Trials thread at the British Comedy Guide Forum.

SitsVac group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SitsVac/conversations/messages

British Comedy Guide Forum:
http://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/29634/

Writers are welcome to vote on their own scripts.

Votes are then totalled thus; Yes = 2 points, Maybe = 1 point, No = minus -1 point. This way we draw up a shortlist for a script reading, from which we select the items to go into the stage show.

PERFORMANCE:

The top ten entries (as voted by you) will be read by the team, from which we'll select at least THREE scripts to be performed on Friday April 4th at the Wardrobe Theatre, St Michael's Hill, Bristol. The other two scripts will possibly come from the Bristol team (it might be that we pick five from this batch of entries, if we can't come up with anything as good as the top five scripts).

This will be a rehearsed-reading/script-in-hand/radio-style affair, though we're not averse to using the odd prop or two. These sitcoms will be in competition with each other, the winner to be decided an audience vote.

There is no set theme this time round (such as the Halloween/Eurovision/Sci-Fi Trials) - you're free to come up with absolutely anything you want.

PRIZE:

We're in the process of setting up the Radio Sitcom Trials, and we'll offer the writer of the winning sitcom the chance to have their script recorded as a full-cast audio play (with music and FX) and then hopefully broadcast on BBC local radio sometime this year.

Any questions?

Happy scribbling

Vince Stadon



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