Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bring Your own Socks



Here we have the front row of our Manchester Edinburgh Fringe preview of Socks In Space at the Lass O'Gowrie last week with, as you can see, their own home made socks. Honoured and flattered.

If anyone would like to bring their own self-designed socks to a Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre show we could not be more delighted. Though be warned that a) you'll be competing with the Manchester Front Row Socks, which were all amazing (top hats? Wigs? Sensational!) and b) The Socks tend to be dazzled by the spotlights and might not notice you from the stage*.

And if you are coming to see them you'd better hurry, our Edinburgh Fringe run starts tonight (at time of writing, though to be honest, by the time you read this, we're probably well into the run). We'll see you there.

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre In Space, 10.15pm July 31st - Aug 25th at The Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe 2013.


*You don't know how it's done and don't pretend you do.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

"Brilliant night of entertainment" ★★★★ The Fiction Stroker


 GM Fringe: The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Posted on July 27, 2013


SocksinSpace

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are no strangers to the fringe scene. Their mix of bickering sock puppets, uncooperative props, songs and violence is back with their new show: Socks in Space! So, it wasn’t surprising that their show in Manchester was a packed sell-out. With new and old followers in evidence (including the marvellous home made homages to the socks from the ladies on the front row) for the final preview before Edinburgh.

This time the socks are preparing to jet off into space via a mix of film references, groan worthy puns and anarchic humour that results in a hilarious hour’s worth of entertainment. From invitations to the audience to do their favourite sci-fi live (One audience member shouts to see Return of the Jedi – quick as a flash one of the socks quips “Hello, I’m back”) through to a wizened David Bowie forgetting the lyrics to Starman it’s all here in a wonderfully irreverent show that takes in everything from Star Wars to The Avengers.

You’d have to be devoid of humour not to enjoy the Socks. Not every joke is a winner, but the quick fire nature of the set allows for a high ratio of uncontrollable laughter. A breathless song taking in nearly every comic book hero in existence is a highlight as is the Socks’ interpretation of Alien (along with impression of John Hurt).

Accessible to non sci-fi fans too, there is some classic socks material thrown in for good measure. And even mistakes happen, puppet maestro Kev Sutherland is quick enough to turn things around to his advantage with some fantastic ad-libbing. One such incident saw a figure of Captain America nosedive into an audience members drink resulted in a brilliant quip that Captain America could not appear anyone as he was now drunk! Beautifully timed and with an appreciative audience, it made for a brilliant night of entertainment.

I never thought that the humble sock could have so many ‘facial’ expressions, but they carry it off in such an consistently entertaining way that proves why they’re their in such demand. You denier wanna miss it this summer!

The Fiction Stroker gives The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre four strokes out of five:

4hand


The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre In Space, 10.15pm July 31st - Aug 25th at The Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh Fringe 2013.

Thankyou Manchester, next stop Edinburgh



How's about that for a cracking page in The Manchester Evening News then? "Kev Sunderland" notwithstanding, it was a lovely phone interview, and even better the show was already sold out before it appeared. And what a show.

The front row included a party of 8 women who'd brought their own home made socks, which were the best socks I've seen yet. Hats, wigs, costumes, the works. Photos were taken at the end of the show and I hope they turn up on Facebook or Twitter cos I really want a copy. Honoured and flattered. The response of the audience was just as good.

They were a marvellous mix of fans and newcomers whose response to every gag just made the next gag even better, and buoyed up by that support the new material went better than ever - including an Alien routine which I'd written in the car on the way up (while my car was stood still on the M6 and satnav saw my e.t.a. rising from an original 6pm to the eventual 7.30 that I arrived at), and the Comicbook Song which had struggled on its debut at Neath and now, by virtue of being rehearsed all the way up, is now spot-on.

As is always the case with a crowd who arrive intent on liking the show, the adlibs and improvs were electric (and, of course, the video camera I'd brought with me remained unused in the car, this being the best show I could have recorded if I wanted a laugh track to paste into other quieter shows). The Macra Terror gave us a good template for how to handle Doctor Who suggestions, and thanks whoever shouted Farscape. We'll probably never get to use that adlib again, but even I was impressed by what the Socks came up with. There were some other adlibs from audience suggestions that I can't remember, if anyone can bring them to mind please let me know.

And that's it. The longest ever run of Edinburgh Preview shows is over, with the Socks having started trying out Space material as long ago as February and hardly any of the early stuff remaining in the final show, and after last night in Manchester it finally seems match fit. Let us see what happens when we play our first £5 preview night in Edinburgh on Wednesday. Grab a ticket if you still can.

 

SOCKS ON TOUR - Your next chance to see the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre....
July 31 - Aug 25 - Gilded Balloon, 10.15pm, Edinburgh Fringe !!!!!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Fun in Beanotown



Here's me having fun filling a flipchart with stuff for a mini Comic Art Masterclass at Beanotown at the Southbank Centre in London. I'll be running full classes this Saturday and Sunday from 2pm, so do be there won't you?

It was a delight, for a change, to be filling the page entirely with Beano characters (can you spot them all kids?) and to be there at the behest of The Beano, as part of a promotion with Dr Martens boots, about which there'll be more as the summer progresses.

Having done the class in the afternoon I then returned in the evening to draw everyone at the Beano's 75th Anniversary party and had the greatest time re-aquainting myself with the staff of DC Thomson and meeting many of their media partners. Some interesting plans were discussed, so let us see what becomes of any of them. In the meantime I got a goody bag, which is a good start. Vive le Beano.

 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Busy busy busy, Larmer Tree, Derby, Enfield, Neath...



Thanks to Juls Williams at the Clowns Pocket in Neath for the photo above. Yes, I realise most shots of the Socks on stage look pretty much the same, but look at the lovely candle on the table, why it's almost as if you were there.

There being The Duke, home of The Clown's Pocket in Neath, where the Socks played a smashing Edinburgh preview show last night, premiering the new Comicbook Song, written yesterday and currently far too fast to sing. That bit was a mess, the rest is coming together nicely. We've now dropped The Melies Brothers routine for good, and last night waved goodbye to the Doctor Who song which was never quite funny enough (if you saw it live at any of the last half dozen shows, you're in a privileged minority).

It's been a hectic week of travelling, with my last two days of schools being in Northlew in Devon Tuesday, then Halesowen Wednesday daytime followed by a Socks preview at the Hen & Chicken in Bristol that same night; The Larmer Tree Festival near Salisbury on Thursday, where the Socks played two shows, an hour at 3.30 and half an hour at 9.15, both to packed crowds, and both the most satisfying gigs of the fortnight (because they weren't Edinburgh previews we just did the old standard stuff and brought the house down, which the new material is getting close to doing but, well, you know); then Friday we were off to London for The Sitcom Trials semi finals (you are following The Sitcom Trials blog and on Twitter & Facebook aren't you?), which was quite stressful but went beautifully; then an overnight stay in London and off to Bedford for a Comic Art Masterclass in the day followed by a Socks Edfringe preview at night (whopping crowd, brilliant); then overnight with Mum in Kibworth and off on Sunday for an Edfringe preview in Derby (a Spike Mike open air do, and very nicely received, though shorter than planned cos we were following Pat Monahan - every comedian will know what that entails) followed by a show at the Mimetic Festival in Enfield the same night (in front of seven people, our smallest audience of 2013, oops, can't explain what happened there, though we were listed under Cabaret instead of Comedy so maybe nobody knew what to expect. Whatever, they were a fab audience and the show was greatest fun).

Then, after driving home from Enfield Sunday night, I had the day to rewrite the show before playing in Neath at night. Now, horror of horrors, we have only one more Edinburgh preview, in Manchester on Friday, then it's Edinburgh itself a week on Wednesday. She'll be right.

Tomorrow and at the weekend I find myself working for The Beano for the first time in five years, stay tuned for those exciting developments.

 

SOCKS ON TOUR - Your next chance to see the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

July 26 - Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester
July 31 - Aug 25 - Gilded Balloon, 10.15pm, Edinburgh Fringe

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Edinburgh previews London, Cardiff, Sheffield



And here are the Socks doing their third Edinburgh Fringe preview show of the week, in the outdoors for a change, at the New Barrack Tavern in Sheffield this afternoon. That's right, 7 hours in the car, 1 hour on the stage, that's how we roll.

That was Sunday afternoon, while on Saturday night we had the air conditioned splendour of Chapter Arts in Cardiff, on a double bill with the fantastic Joe Lycett. Before all of which we had our third night at Leicester Square Theatre - our least heavily-plugged of the three shows and, with mind numbing inevitability, the one with the biggest audience.

The show is developing, and going through lots of changes. In Sheffield, for the first time, we dropped the 4 Horsemen song, a cling-on from last year's Boo Lingerie, and hard as it is to lose it, the new show's now standing on its own feet, with entirely new songs and sketches (apart from the Bottle routine and a closing sketch from 2009 which we'll probably keep because they're short and pretty bloody good - plus a musical gag which debuted on this night in 2009, then known as the Andy Warhol routine).

New routines and gags keep coming thick and fast, and being dropped as quickly. They got the new Countdown routine in London (died) and Sheffield (worked) but not in Cardiff (chickened out), and the new Apocalyptic running gag got its first outing in Sheffield, along with the new time travel ending to the Ding Dong routine, which didn't work today but I'm determined will do. Other people's preview thoughts are always refreshing, here are mine from 2009

Oh I'm shuffling the order every time, I've discarded more material for this show than for any previous show, and I'm at that stage that we've been at pretty well every past year at this time where I think it'll never be as good as I want it. And every show we come away with a mixture of inspiration and desperation. What a daft way to make a living, eh? Next stop The Comedy Box in Bristol, our first Edinburgh preview there since a few years ago when, after two consecutive years of killer previews, we did one with way too much new material and which ranks, to this day, as our worst preview show ever. Steve (Lount) hasn't had us back since (though he came to see the resultant show in Bath and realised what he'd missed) but now he's taken the chance on us not cocking up again. So, no pressure.

 

SOCKS ON TOUR - Your next chance to see the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

July 17 - Bristol Comedy Box at the Hen & Chickens
July 18 - Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 21 - Derby Funhouse 3.25pm
+ Mimetic Festival, Enfield 8.30pm
July 22 - Clowns Pocket, Neath
July 26 - Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester
July 31 - Aug 25 - Gilded Balloon, 10.15pm, Edinburgh Fringe

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Space Oddity - Scottish Falsetto Socks

Brand new from the Socks, their version of a Bowie classic...



This is from the audience-in montage for Socks In Space, not part of the show itself, which is shaping up nicely with half a dozen previews to go before Edinburgh. A good preview at the Leicester Square Theatre this week, the third of three with the biggest audience of the lot, threw up some nice ideas that will get tested this weekend in Cardiff and Sheffield. See you all there.

 

SOCKS ON TOUR - Your next chance to see the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

July 13 - Chapter Arts, Cardiff Comedy Festival
July 14 - Sheffield, New Barrack Tavern 2pm
July 17 - Bristol Comedy Box at the Hen & Chickens
July 18 - Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 21 - Derby Funhouse 3.25pm
+ Mimetic Festival, Enfield 8.30pm
July 22 - Clowns Pocket, Neath
July 26 - Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester
July 31 - Aug 25 - Gilded Balloon, 10.15pm, Edinburgh Fringe

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Minions Spy - new comics by kids

Some more brand new comic creations by the pupils in my Comic Art Masterclasses.



These comics, the covers thereof, were dreamed up by the pupils of Ramsbury in Wiltshire, Newbury (courtesy of Berol pens), Walsall, Clevedon and Bushey in Herts. Every pupil goes home with a comic containing a strip by every one of them, and an individual caricature by me.

Most delightful moment of the week: The process of choosing the title of each group's comic involves each of them writing a title on a piece of paper, then we vote one versus the other till we've chosen the favourite. As we were coming close to choosing The Minions Spy, the wee year 3 girl who'd thought it up said to the teacher "my heart's beating so fast!". Sweet.

Continuing my informal survey of what kids find popular, when I ask which Doctor Who they want me to draw I am still getting an 80% David Tennant request rate over Matt Smith (sorry Matt, I don't know why this phenomenon has happened this year), and when I ask them to suggest a celebrity for the "treads on a worm" demo strip, these nine groups ended up choosing Simon Cowell (twice, though he is suggested in 80% of classes), Bradley Wiggins, Johnny Depp, Daniel Radcliffe, Psy, Keith Lemon, Harry Styles and Boris Johnson.

If you want to experience my Comic Art Masterclass, which is suitable for anyone aged 7 or over (there's no maximum age limit), I'll be doing classes at London's South Bank Centre this summer as part of Beanotown , a class in Bedford on July 20, and in August I'll be appearing in various libraries in and around Edinburgh, details here. And you can see me in the Lake District in October, stay tuned for that update. In the meantime you can always book me to come to your local school. Email and we'll take it from there. Details of my class, and more examples and testimonials, are on the website comicfestival.co.uk.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Hev & Kev do the Arnolfini



Here's the two of us re-enacting The Marriage of The Arnolfini, courtesy of a pair of fab event photographers called Photobooth Out Of Order, at the Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Year event yesterday in Cardiff. I know, gorgeous, ain't we?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Me & Frank, drawing in the sun



Today I was mostly doing a interview with Frank Skinner, which was the greatest fun and, if I'm really lucky, will avoid the cutting room floor and crop up in Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Year series later this year. When I wasn't doing that bit of the day, which to be frank, as t'were, took about 10 minutes, I was doing caricatures and teaching comics to the good people of Cardiff, and getting some sun.

Yes, I've not been writing many blogs lately what with my ludicrously over busy schedule, but two days of summer in a year like this has been weather wise merits a mention, and since yesterday I also got more sun than I can remember for ages doing the MC-ing at Shona & Kirsty's school fete (I arrived in a jacket, making me officially the most over-dressed for the weather since Hev & I arrived in Adelaide last year) it counts as blog-worthy.

So after a week that saw me driving from Bristol to Weston, Walsall, London, Manchester, Wiltshire, London, Cardiff and home to Bristol, surely next week will be easi... sorry, what's that you say? Newbury, Watford, London, Clevedon, Walsall, Gloucester, Cardiff & Sheffield? Sigh...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Bomber Baby - new comics by kids

The kids in my Comic Art Masterclasses have been busy again, producing this latest batch of beauties...



These are the covers of the comics, taken home by every member of every class, containing a strip by every one of them and their individual caricatures, from schools in Weston Super Mare, Walsall, Manchester, and Stourport. The Stourport classes were sponsored by those lovely people at Berol, whose pens I use for every one of these creations.

When I ask the kids to suggest a celebrity for me to draw in the big demonstration strip, someone always suggests Simon Cowell, and in recent weeks the Queen and Bob Marley have cropped up a lot. These classes finally plumped for The Queen (twice), Bruno Mars, Bear Grylls, Michael Jackson, Russell Brand and Winston Churchill. And when I ask them which Doctor Who they want me to draw, it's been 60% David Tennant to 40% Matt Smith.

If you want to experience my Comic Art Masterclass, which is suitable for anyone aged 7 or over (there's no maximum age limit), I'll be doing classes at London's South Bank Centre this summer as part of Beanotown , a class in Bedford on July 20, and in August I'll be appearing in various libraries in and around Edinburgh, details here. And you can see me in the Lake District in October, stay tuned for that update. In the meantime you can always book me to come to your local school. Email and we'll take it from there. Details of my class, and more examples and testimonials, are on the website comicfestival.co.uk.

Monday, 1 July 2013

July in the Socks calendar - Alien

This is how we celebrate July on the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's 2013 calendar, with the Socks take on the Alien poster (click to enlarge)...



If you want to enjoy this in full printed glory you can still buy the calendar with its 12 unique brand new specially drawn cartoons by Kev F formerly of The Beano. It's good for another 7 months and is a collector's item joy to treasure. Click on the image to see more of the calendar and the link to the shop, or if you can't wait, buy it here.





SOCKS ON TOUR - Your next chance to see the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

June 28 - Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol
July 2, July 9 - Leicester Square Theatre, London
July 5 - The Lord Nelson, Norton Sub Hamden, Somerset
July 13 - Chapter Arts, Cardiff Comedy Festival
July 14 - Sheffield, New Barrack Tavern 2pm
July 17 - Bristol Comedy Box at the Hen & Chickens
July 18 - Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 21 - Derby Funhouse 3.25pm
+ Mimetic Festival, Enfield 8.30pm
July 22 - Clowns Pocket, Neath
July 26 - Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester
July 31 - Aug 25 - Gilded Balloon, 10.15pm, Edinburgh Fringe
Further dates to be added, (plus regular appearances at your local comedy club, check listings for details and, if you can't find us, ask your local comedy club to book us, it can't hurt). Watch Facebook, here or ents24 for updates.

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