Laurel and Hardy

Hugh Bonneville to host Slapstick festival gala

Screening of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton classics

Hugh Bonneville is to host a gala evening of silent film comedies at next year’s Slapstick festival, organisers have announced.

The Downton Abbey and Paddington star will introduce  Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 masterpiece The Gold Rush, below, Buster Keaton’s 1922 short Cops and 1929’s Big Business, which stars Laurel & Hardy as hilariously incompetent Christmas tree salesmen.

Chaplin Gold Rish
© Roy Export SAS

All will be accompanied by the 16-piece Bristol Ensemble providing a live soundtrack.

The gala will be Hugh Bonneville’s first visit to the Slapstick festival of vintage comedy and will be taking place in the main hall of The Beacon theatre in Bristol on Friday February 16.

Slapstick festival director Chris Daniels said: ‘The gala is always a highlight of our festivals, but we’ve greatly missed being able to stage them in a hall big enough to meet the demand for places.

‘It is a special delight, therefore, that our 20th gala is back where they began and to have Hugh Bonneville, a screen comedy superfan, as our host.’

Tickets, priced £12 to £55, will be available from 10am on Friday via

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