Saturday 21 December 2013

Barbara & Jeffrey - January at the Wardrobe Theatre

Deceit, humour, role play. It's what keeps a marriage strong.

An astutely observed character portrait of a marriage in crisis, "Barbara and Jeffrey" is a fast, funny and frenetic one act play from writer, actress and stand-up Naomi Carter, a three-time winner of the Sitcom Trials

Snobbish, overbearing Barbara, and her long-suffering sexually frustrated husband Jeffrey, should be having a nice middle-class evening out at the local committee meeting in the village hall - but instead, for a number of increasingly hysterical reasons, they find themselves unable to leave their tastefully furnished house...and - for more increasingly hysterical reasons - they can't let anyone know they're in something of a tricky situation. As the night draws in and tensions run high, husband and wife must confront their problems head on... if only they could bring themselves to look at each other. Duration: one hour (approx), with no intermission. 

Monday 27th Jan, Tues 28th Jan, Weds 29th Jan, Thurs 30th Jan, Fri 31st Jan 
at The Wardrobe Theatre, Above The White Bear, 133 St Michael's Hill, Bristol BS2 8BS
8pm, doors open 7:30pm. £5

If you would like to create the next great British situation comedy, The Sitcom Trials is an opportunity for your sitcom to be seen live.

Details of new shows, and our ongoing competition, are to be found here at and on Twitter and Facebook.

See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Sitcom Trials Christmas Get-Together - Sat 21


"Millennium", the hard-hitting investigative journal that's at the heart of Stieg Larsson's "nordic noir" trilogy of dark crime novels ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"/"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest"/"The Girl Who Played with Fire"), is apparently based on a magazine that never existed; "Washington Post" go-getting reporters Bernstein and Woodward, having brought down the Nixon administration with their reportage of the Watergate scandal, drew up a proposal for a publication that would do in print what Batman does in black leather - a go-anywhere, no-holds-barred remit to sniff out injustice and corruption, and, with cold hard facts, statistics, emails and compromising photos, kick the living crap out of uber-powerful bad guys .  Woodward and Bernstein (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in the terrific movie) sent their proposal to the biggest, most influential news agencies in the world, expecting a bidding war.  Instead they were offered insane sums of dosh to quietly fuck off.  Which they did.

Stieg Larsson, though, was the real deal: a reporter who cared about getting to the truth, no matter the cost.  He wrote his "Millennium" crime books late into a career of dogged investigations into the the rich and powerful, more often than not finding his copy spiked by his editor, fired by various publications, or simply considered to be a right pain in the arse. Larsson couldn't be bought, distracted or dissuaded.  "Millennium" represented something truthful, a beacon of light in a murky world.  Someone had to speak up, someone had to put in print what was really going on.  

Stieg Larsson died in 2004 under suspicious circumstances. 

 The internet terrorist group Anonymous (if you're reading this, guys, my son is desperate to join), Swedish branch, created a virus named "Millennium" designed to hack into the servers of every major publishing company in the world, and wipe their hard drives. Alas, it didn't work.

The Christmas get-together of the Bristol Sitcom Trials team, plus loved ones, will start at the Llandoger Trow, King Street, Bristol, at 8pm.  It'll be a nice chance to meet up, have fun, share biscuits and arcane knowledge, and for me to thank everyone for being so very splendid, sexy and taller than me.  I'll be passing on best wishes from Kev F and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, probably through the medium of dance (to songs by Echo and the Bunnymen), hogging the best spot at every bar, and - when catching glimpse of the lovely young woman at the keyboard in the band we drunkenly thought would be a good idea to see - wishing I'd bothered to iron a shirt.

You've all be brilliant (particularly you, for doing that thing) and I very much look forward to seeing you next Saturday.

With kind regards and very best wishes,

--Vince Stadon
Sitcom Trials Bristol

If you would like to create the next great British situation comedy, The Sitcom Trials is an opportunity for your sitcom to be seen live.

Details of new shows, and our ongoing competition, are to be found here at and on Twitter and Facebook.

See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.

Merry Christmas to and from The Sitcom Trials

Seasons Greetings everyone, from me, the occasional producer of The Sitcom Trials, to you and everyone who's been involved in The Sitcom Trials through 2013, easily our busiest year in a decade.

As the man who dreamt up the Sitcom Trials all those years ago, then put it down for a while, my biggest thanks have to go to the people responsible for the show still existing, top of the list being Vince Stadon. Vince, as you know, won the Manchester Sitcom Trials in 2011 and asked if he could set up a Bristol team. Thanks to his and his team's continuous run of meetings, shows, fully-staged presentations in Bristol and Bath, script competitions and radio recordings ever since, the Bristol Sitcom Trials has now outlived the Manchester show that spawned it and helped revive the team in London and the competition this year that culminated at the Edinburgh Fringe. And big congratulations to Naomi and Lewis from the Bristol team whose sitcoms rocked that grand final.

Big thanks to the London Sitcom Trials team, especially director/superstars Sarit Chen, Chris Fitchew and Louisa Gummer without whom we could have done none of it. Such a high quality of work, it was an honour to be part of it, and if anyone wants to revive London in 2014, you have my support.

And big thanks, and commiserations, to the Manchester Sitcom Trials which is on hold purely as a result of losing its venue, the excellent Lass O'Gowrie. It was Lisa Connor & Gareth Kavanagh at the Lass who suggested putting on a Trials in 2011, after the show had taken 2010 off. And, two shows in, Vince Stadon's Checkpoint Dave won the night which led to Bristol, as we saw above. Meanwhile the Manchester team, led by Michelle Ashton then Sean Mason, continued with regular shows leading to this year's competition heats. All looked good for the season continuing this autumn when, out of the blue, we all discover the Lass O'Gowrie is being closed and revamped by its brewery. It will be losing its perfect, and award-winning, pub theatre, and even worse, losing its amazing management team who have turned it into the Pub Of The Year and one of the best venues to work in. Tragic, but I know everyone involved will re-emerge somewhere soon and when they do, hopefully the Trials will pop back up with them. In the meantime, so long and thanks for all the great shows.

And finally, my thanks to everyone involved in 2013's Sitcom Trials So You Think You Write Funny competition that involved the London, Bristol and Manchester teams in heats showcasing 32 sitcoms chosen from 100s of entrants and building up to a grand final at the Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe. Congratulations to the winner, Rosie Holt, who has won her own show at next year's Fringe.

All this in the year that marks the 10th anniversary of The Sitcom Trials' first TV series in ITV1. That second series is, I'm sure, just around the corner.

You can enjoy videos of most of the heats, the semis and the grand final of 2013's Sitcom Trials, along with episodes of the TV series and videos dating back to the earliest days of the show, here on Youtube and at, and keep following us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news (you can put Friday 4th April in your diaries as the date of the next Sitcom Trials in Bristol).

And a Happy New Year when it comes.

Kev F Sutherland
Creator & Executive Producer
The Sitcom Trials

If you would like to create the next great British situation comedy, The Sitcom Trials is an opportunity for your sitcom to be seen live.

Details of new shows, and our ongoing competition, are to be found here at and on Twitter and Facebook.

See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Sitcom Trials Bath Nov 30 report

(Left to right: Lewis Cook, David Lloyd, Glenys Leigh McIntyre, Naomi Carter, Tony Kennedy, Becky Brunning, Janet Adams, Laura Ollerton, Billy Quain)

 Vince Stadon, producer, writes: The Bristol Sitcom Trials team performed our last show of 2013 on Friday night at the Ring O Bells, Bath, as part of the extended Bath Comedy Festival.

The winning sitcom, as voted by a good-sized audience (around 40), was...

... "Being Social" by Naomi Carter.

Congrats to Naomi, commiserations to the other writers who's sitcoms went down well with an appreciative (if sometimes quiet) audience.

The host of the show was the splendid Becky Brunning, who kept proceedings running smoothly and hilariously, and who had a tremendous rapport with the audience. ("The next Sitcom Trials show is in Bristol, apparently," said Becky, "which is a much more common version of Bath.")

The running order was:

"Arthouse" by Graeme Knowles - went down well, a good start to the show. A fast and funny script, peppered with clever references to works of art, and excellent characters. Plus, having an actress dressed in hot pants and thigh length boots is always going to perk things up (and a big thank you to Bath Comedy Director Nick Steel for his cameo role as a besotted art lover).

Cast: Billy Quain, Naomi Carter, Lewis Cook, Laura Ollerton, David Lloyd (as the terrifying Bob Sharp), Janet Adams and Glenys Leigh McIntyre.

"Bookmobile" by Chris Dennis - Chris was at the show, and it was lovely to meet him. "Bookmobile" is a much more gentle, character-driven sitcom, the perfect contrast to the frenetic pace of "Arthouse", with a cracking cliffhanger. In rehearsals, a bit of business when a character named Penny has to whack a character named Ken around the head with a book always had me speed-dialling the Bristol Royal Infirmary Accident and Emergency Department, but on the night it went perfectly with no major headaches.

Cast: Janet Adams, Glenys Leigh McIntyre, Lewis Cook, David Lloyd.

"Hench" by Andrew Tate - a very blokey sitcom (James Bond, gadgets, football) with some great gags (especially about sharks) and a great villain. David Lloyd provided a John Motson-style football commentary as well as guest-starring as Wayne Rooney, to much laughter. All those 007 references made me nostalgic for earlier Sitcom Trials show, which seemed to be awash with them.

Cast: Lewis Cook, Billy Quain, Laura Ollerton, Tony Kennedy, David Lloyd.

During the intermission the audience got to work scribbling down their Pitch Fest entries, which Becky read out during the gaps between the final two sitcoms in the second half. The Bath audience, who had warmed up considerably, produced some cracking Pitch Fest ideas, including this strange entry:

Title: "Cereal Serials"

One line pitch:
"5 convicted serial killers discuss body disposal, moral injustice & finding the Jesus over breakfast."

Your name: Aileen Wurnos

You can always count on a Bath audience to display arcane knowledge.

"Being Social" by Naomi Carter - Kicked off the second half of the show brilliantly, with a great blend of character, plot and gags, leading to a frenetic cliffhanger. Tony Kennedy, playing social worker Jack, pitched his performance to a level of camp somewhere up the Himalayas, much to the delight of the audience, though my favourite bit is the non-verbal entrance and swift exit of a character named Margaret (played by Laura Ollerton) at a crucial moment.

Cast: Naomi Carter, Tony Kennedy, Janet Adams, David Lloyd, Laura Ollerton.

Finally, there was "Backstage" by Neil Tollfree - a gun, a spotlight, and Lewis Cook in his pants. Yes, LEWIS COOK IN HIS PANTS. That's worth the entry fee alone. This had to have been the sexiest Sitcom Trials show ever staged (Kev, any other contenders?). Another terrific sitcom, with well-drawn characters and snappy dialogue, and the perfect way to end the show.

Still reeling from LEWIS COOK IN HIS PANTS!, the audience voted for their favourite sitcom, and their favourite Pitch Fest entry.

The prize for the winning Pitch Fest is to have the team write and perform a mini-sitcom (about five minutes) for the next show. And we've been tasked with writing and performing...

..."You 'Aint 'Alf Hot, Mum": "Mockumentary following a middle-aged mother's daily struggle with the menopause whilst trying to fight off her incestuous teenage son's advances" by Chris Dennis (writer of the splendid "Bookmobile"). So that'll be a hoot, and something to look forward to in our next show. Congrats to Chris, who'll be given a free seat at the Wardrobe Theatre to see how we get on.

As mentioned up top, Naomi Carter's "Being Social" was the winning sitcom, and had its second half performed, bringing to close a most enjoyable night.

My thanks go to our wonderful cast - Janet Adams, Naomi Carter, LEWIS COOK IN HIS PANTS!, Tony Kennedy, David Lloyd, Glenys Leigh McIntyre, Laura Ollerton, and Billy Quain.

 And to the writers - Naomi Carter, Chris Dennis, Graeme Knowles, Andrew Tate, and Neil Tollfree.

And to Nick Steel, Director of the Bath Comedy Festival, plus the very helpful staff at the Ring O Bells.

And to Kev F, as always.

The next Bristol Sitcom Trials show is on Friday 4th April 2014, at our usual home of the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol. Details of how to enter your script will be forthcoming in the new year.

We'll be announcing the broadcast of the first batch of the Radio Sitcom Trials within a few weeks, so watch this space. Plus, details of our second one-act play, which will run at the Wardrobe Theatre for the last week of January.

Sadly, the show wasn't filmed. Though with LEWIS COOK IN HIS PANTS! that might not be a bad thing.

If you would like to create the next great British situation comedy, The Sitcom Trials is an opportunity for your sitcom to be seen live.

Details of new shows, and our ongoing competition, are to be found here at and on Twitter and Facebook.

See the Best of The Sitcom Trials videos, here.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...