Monday 27 February 2012

Bristol Sitcom Trials meeting report

Bristol Sitcom Trials meeting - Sunday 26th Feb.

On a pleasantly warm and sunny Sunday afternoon (the kind of day the Small Faces might have written about) the Bristol Sitcom Trials team convened in a Totterdown pub to read scripts and discuss the pain threshold of people who regularly go paintballing.  In t-shirts, sunglasses and sheer disbelief that no food is served in the pub, we read four shortlisted entries for the fifteen minute slot at "The Secret Comedians" show in Clifton, Bristol, on Thurs March 1st.

In attendance were Angie, Becky (a newcomer, hello!), Elf, Hannah (another newcomer, hello!), John, Linda, Luke, Nigel (our third newcomer), Robin, Sarit, Vince, and Vivian.  

The scripts we read were:

"You Banker!" by Richard Dowling, read by Hannah, Luke, Sarit and Viv.  Lots of great ideas, good characters (espec. the stroppy secretary who won't let the theft of her sandwiches go unremarked) and a pleasingly surreal vibe to the piece (the Kafka brothers reference was particularly inspired).  This was a strong opener and prompted lots of discussion about the merits of grounding situation comedy in reality or taking off into flights of the absurd. Running time: 16:39.

"Neighbourhood Watch" by Angie Belcher (one of the Bristol team), read by Angie, Elf, John and Robin.  This had a high gag rate, an easy-to-follow narrative, and characters that ranged from the monstrous to the endearing.  Discussion mainly centred on pacing and sex toys, and the male/female power balance. This definitely has series potential, and was enjoyed by all. Running time: 11:41.

"Outgoings" by Dan Sweryt, read by Becky, Linda, Lorna, Nigel and Viv.  Dark, witty and with a very high gag-per-page rate, this had a plot point which caused a few eyebrows to be raised (for a sitcom about assassins, this kind of thing is unavoidable).  Everyone loved the mother-in-law character, jokes about teachers, the hit list and the Ronnie Corbett on the horizon gag.  One very clever dialogue exchange prompted a long discussion about highbrow writing.  Running time: 15:23.

"Twelve Knight Street Motors" by Bart Hulley, read by Angie, Elf, John and Robin.  A storming closing script, this very rude and very funny reworking of Shakespeare had everybody laughing at its sheer audacity and monstrous characters. A brilliant opening gag about a make of car had us all won over and fueling the argument that children shouldn't be allowed in pubs, a curious six year old girl who had been left unattended by her parents wandered by, and seemed to take an awful lot of interest in one particularly risque scene involving pubic hair and lesbian seduction.  We ploughed on with a mix of embarrassment and amusement and thankfully the young girl had left by the time we got to the bit where an annoyed customer takes a crap on a doorstep.  Running time: 11:45.

We then voted on which one we liked the best, and I'm pleased to announce that "Twelve Knight Street Motors" had the most hands raised in its favour (even the little girl came back to vote for it) and will be performed at "The Secret Comedians" gig on Thursday.

Thank you to the team for making this an especially fun meeting, and to all the writers who were kind and brave enough to submit material.  Sorry if your script didn't make the shortlist, or if it was read at the meeting and pipped at the post.  We'll hopefully be doing more of this sort of thing, so keep an eye out for further call outs for scripts.

Meanwhile, here are details of "The Secret Comedians"

- It's at the Richmond pub, Clifton, Bristol, in spitting distance of the Students Union.  

- Doors open at 8:00pm, entry is £3.  

- Luke Honnoraty will be doing a little warm-up set (cheers Luke).

-  "Twelve Knight Street Motors" will be performed by Angie, Hannah, John and Robin, script-in-hand radio style.  

- Finally, rising star Tania Edwards will headline with a preview of her forthcoming Edinburgh show.

- The event is run by Elf Lyons, and we'd very much like to see you there, so please do spread the word and come along.

The next Bristol Sitcom Trials meeting is on Sunday March 11, 2-4pm, Oxford pub, Totterdown.  We'll be reading the five scripts which will have been voted by peer review to be the finalists in our show at the Wardrobe Theatre on Fri March 30th (tickets available now). 

Exciting times!

Kind regards, 


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