My two daughters and I popped along to one of Bristol’s most iconic theatres last weekend to enjoy a good giggle at Slapstick Sunday with CBeebies star, Andy Day. Here’s my review of the Bristol Slapstick Festival’s jolly family-friendly event:
*Disclaimer: Slapstick Festival gifted us our tickets, but as always, views are my own.
“He’s an actual real-live person!” my daughter exclaimed in astonishment when CBeebies top dog Andy took to the stage for a Slapstick Sunday matinee performance at Bristol Hippodrome. HUGE fans of The Snow Queen – in which he plays a bird called ‘What’s That The Raven’ – this was quite a revelation for my two girls (aged five and two years old). And Andy certainly brought the stage to life during his hour-long live show, as part of Bristol’s annual silent comedy Slapstick Festival.
A children’s TV presenter, he was clearly comfortable playing to a young crowd, but managed to stay clear of cringe and instead had the adults laughing along with him – singling out a dad in the audience to speak in a Mickey Mouse voice was particularly amusing.
The show was based around Andy sharing his favourite funny film clips from silent comedies and animations including classics from Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Mickey Mouse and Gertie the Dinosaur. On stage with Andy, was a musician who’d tinkle along with swinging ragtime music on the piano, accordion and flute to accompany the film snippets. My kids had never seen any of the clips – and I’m ashamed to say neither had I – but we were all transfixed by the majority, especially Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill windy day stunts and the mind-bogglingly weird ‘dancing pig’ from 1907. Give me Peppa over that thing any day (click on the film below to see what I’m talking about).
In between comical film clips on the big screen, Andy dealt out interesting titibits about silent comedy history as well as treating the audience to what he’s best known for – his tongue-twisting raps – and a major highlight for me was the whole crowd participating in the dinosaur rap song.
As well as giggles for the on-screen comedy, the show was also dotted with chucklesome interactive shenanigans. A very realistic looking Charlie Chaplin (made up with white and grey face paint to look as if he’d stepped fresh off the silver screen) popped up on stage times several times ‘unbeknownst’ to Andy’ – cue much excitable screaming of ‘he’s behind you!’ from the crowd and for lots more exchanges between the two, including Andy playfully dressing up as a blonde lady…
All in all, the three of us giggled our chops off throughout the whole show and enjoyed every single one of the little surprises. The only downside for me was that my youngest freaked out about the noise when the audience were shouting panto-style at Charlie Chaplin’s whereabouts – which flummoxes me as she tends to be the loudest person in the room at any given time and loves nothing better than a good shout. The best bit according to my girls? Charlie Chaplin’s custard pie splat in Andy’s face. Because no self-respecting children’s slapstick event would be complete without one.