A round up of some things to look forward to around Bristol this month
Giggle your socks off
Now on its 15th edition, the popular Slapstick Festival is back this month, celebrating all things silent comedy and laugh-out-loud entertainment from 16 – 20 January. From classic Laurel & Hardy shorts accompanied by a live piano (see them in Way Out West, pictured above), to behind-the-scenes chats with Dad’s Army vicar Frank Williams; talks by the creators of The Inbetweeners; and actress and comedian Sally Phillips’ take on her comedy icon Louise Brooks, there’s something for everyone to get their funny bone tickled. Go online to see the full programme.
In a special concert to celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns, and following two former sold-out shows in Bristol, 12 top artists on the folk music scene will come together to mark Burns Night at St George’s Bristol. Featuring the mesmerising vocals of Ríoghnach Connolly (Afro Celt Sound System) and award-winning Scottish folk rabble-rousers The Langan Band, the show includes new versions of classic Burns songs, original compositions and instrumental sets, all sharing values that Burns championed – equality, social justice and love. Takes place on 24 January, 8pm. 14+. £15 – £25.
Make like The Temptations as Bristol Hippodrome harks back to the hit parade of yesteryear. With just $800 borrowed from his family, Berry Gordy founded Motown Records and launched the careers of legendary artists including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and The Temptations. Motown the Musical (10 January – 2 February) follows the life of a man who broke barriers and fought against the odds to create something more than a record label. Featuring more than 50 classic Motown hits including My Girl, Dancing in the Street, and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, it’ll have you toe tapping and finger-clicking all the way out the theatre doors.
…While attending the unofficial funeral of Little Chef. Yep, you heard! In 2017 Megan and Owen visited all surviving (but not thriving) Little Chef restaurants. Racing around the country, they captured the final 41 visits on camera and now, for one night only in Bristol, they will be presenting their trip – with commentary and insightful thoughts at The Wardrobe Theatre on 15 January, 7.30pm, in Death of a Restaurant. Beginning at Newcastle’s A1 branch, guided by the lucky omen of a double yolker inside Owen’s Olympic breakfast, they finished their whirlwind tour at the A11 Norwich branch in December 2017. Just a month later, the doors of the final Little Chef closed to the public without so much as a peep and Megan and Owen want this rectified! A chance to bid farewell to a 60-year-old slice of British history. Tickets £8.
Get Ziggy with it
Celebrate all that is weird, wonderful and Bowie with Bristol’s own 60-piece Fantasy Orchestra at the very special Great Bowie Party at Trinity Centre on Trinity Road on 5 January, kicking off at 7.30pm. Expect Bowie-inspired costumes, lights and plenty of extravagance as the orchestra and choir bring a multitude of classic songs to life. Come dressed as your favourite Bowie and, for those musically inclined, there’s even an open mic session. £10 – £15.