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Bring it on
In Bristol, the Slapstick Festival presents classic, silent-era movies from the age of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, introduced by the big names of cutting-edge comedy (think Matt Lucas, Lee Mack, John Cleese and Marcus Brigstocke). The city also hosts a Cary Grant Festival. Why? Born Archie Leach, the big screen heart-throb grew up in Horfield before crossing the Atlantic to become one of Hollywood’s finest comic actors.
While the mainstream theatres show A-list stand-ups as part of their star-studded programmes, the Comedy Box in Bristol and Komedia in Bath are the two comedy clubs to look out for.
Like a mini Edinburgh, Bath’s Comedy Festival is small but perfectly formed with a reputation for spotting new talent. The Lovehoney Best Joke Award (won by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre in 2018) sets the tone.
Open air and Underground
Bath’s Natural Theatre Company brings laughter to the streets with their very British brand of absurd humour. And performers are literally swinging from the rafters at Circomedia, the world-famous centre of circus and physical theatre based in Bristol. Underground, the Invisible Circus creates stunning spectacles and dark dreamscapes in the most unusual of places – including the Loco Klub, buried deep in the tunnels beneath Temple Meads station.