The last few years have seen something of a resurgence for the art of physical comedy. Long in decline since The Jazz Singer showed the world the power of the talking movie, silent comedy (or physical comedy) has had many champions, but not a lot of action taken over preserving it in the last few decades. Highlights like Mr Bean have been few and far between, though The Artist reignited the publics interest in silent performance and recent comedies like Inside Number 9 have highlighted the timeless potential of such a form. Now, Sky Arts have commissioned a series of one off programmes which utilise nothing more than the physical talents of those brilliant performers. Those performers are a mixture of hot young talent and established masters, with Kim Cattrall, Kevin Eldon, Vic Reeves, Johnny Vegas, Frank Skinner, Seann Walsh, Sam Simmons, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Marek Larwood, Mike Wozniak, John Kearns and Phil Burgers all signed up to the project, there's high hopes all around. In total, there will be four programmes, of 30 minutes each, all showing just how great physical comedy can be.
'Ruby Robinson' (King Bert Productions) is a silent comedy starring Kim Cattrall as Ruby, who lives in a huge, isolated and tumbling down house with a troupe of unusual acrobatic helpers who she's come to take for granted. What she truly desires is the company of her nephew and his family, but when a visit from them catches her off guard, she quickly learns to appreciate those which were around her all along. It's an usually comic morality tale, filled with physical comedy and acrobatics. It was written by Mike Wozniak, who also stars.
'Three Kinds of Stupid' is a three stooges style physical comedy starring Seann Walsh, Marek Larwood and Jocelyn Jee Esien, and was written by Chris Reddy. It follows the misadventures of three community police officers who befriend a blind man, played by Vic Reeves in superb comic form. Things go badly wrong when one of the gang accidentally kills the blind man's guide dog with a prawn sandwich. Unable to tell him about the tragedy, they go to elaborate ends to convince him his dog is still alive and well.
'Rotters' is a hilarious blend of Oceans 11 and Dumb and Dumber, in which we follow a gang of idiots who attempt to rob an auction house, run by an antiques dealer (Frank Skinner). Forever stepping on each others toes, the gang is played by Phil Burgers, John Kearns, Sam Simmons, Lolly Adefope and Daniel Simonsen. We watch them battle against an array of security systems, a meddlesome traffic warden and their own incompetence across half an hour of hilarity.
'Brilliantman!' was written by and stars Kevin Eldon as a wannabe superhero in this silent physical comedy. Also featuring Johnny Vegas as his grumpy landlady Mrs. Wardle, it follows the adventures of council worked Ian Hedge who assumes the identity of Brilliantman and goes about his efforts to make the town a better place. In his way though is a mugger, a burglar and a potentially murderous parrot. What our caped hero lacks in dynamism, he makes up for with incompetence in this hilarious programme by one of Britain's great unsung comic talents.
Philip Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts commented on boosting their physical comedy output after requests on the phone Sky for free number: “There’s no finer sight in life than someone bumping into something. This was the starting point for our brand new physical comedy season on Sky Arts. Luckily the brilliant comic talent who signed up to make four top notch, one-offs all had a rather more sophisticated view of what a silent comedy should be. We are thrilled that Frank Skinner, Vic Reeves, Johnny Vegas, Kevin Eldon, Seann Walsh and Kim Cattrall (amongst a host of others) will be entertaining our equally sophisticated customers with their versions of knockabout fun.”
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