Sunday, 18 February 2018

Superheroes First Preview Leicester Feb 17 2018


This clip, the closing song from the preview show, is on Youtube as an exclusive clip for Kickstarter supporters. Every else will see it in the fullness of time but not yet.

Scottish Falsetto Socks - Superheroes First Preview Leicester Feb 17 2018

I felt this preview went very well. Leicester are always kind to us, and this was a near-as-dammit sellout so a full house were very supportive of all the new material. And it was mostly new material. Here's what we did and how it went.

For starters we had more than an hour's material, as became clear when I was starting the 10 minute finale with less than 5 minutes to go. But, of course, a lot will change with this show in the coming months.

Intro - Leicester gags. 5/10 mostly groans and, of course, no use for any other venue

I'm A Sock Song - 8/10 Good as always. I was tempted to start with a different song, but I've only ever risked that twice in 10 years and it didn't go well.

Cosmopolitan (mistaken words routine) - 7/10 Good, but could we have something stronger here?

Smell Like Xmas Song - 7/10 Very good song, lots of good laughs, but are audience confused by non-Superhero material starting the show?



The Christmas/Superhero misunderstanding - 4/10 not funny to begin with
 - Batman/Robin/Flash gags - 7/10 groaners but okay
- Wonder Woman visual gag - 4/10 fell flat
- Xmas/Superhero misunderstanding - 4/10 not funny enough

Motion Capture - 7/10 I love it, but it got mixed reactions. Needs expanding

Nursery Rhymes - 6/10 Getting good laughs with some lines, floppy on others

Peter Parker Song - 6/10 Good, I think will improve

Science - 7/10 Very good laughs, but does it continue well from previous routine?

Horror Song - 0/10 Disaster, the music wasn't on the iPod! Very eggy moment.


1st Appearance of Brother - 8/10 Very good. 
- Panto good, Cockney Rhyming Slang very good, great laughs

Racist Brother Song - 7/10 Good, some laughs, will get better. Are audience confused by where the show is going, with so little Superheroes by this stage?

Joker teeth - 8/10 Need more material around it, but good visual

Superman Part 1 - 7/10 No laughs for Jor-El/Kal-El, though I like those bits. Will improve.
More laughs for Ma & Pa Kent.
Glasses - 9/10 Brilliant.

Dead Ringer Song - 8/10 Getting most of its laughs from the glasses, but song will catch up.

Superman gay - 3/10 Not funny

Little Baby Jesus - 5/10 Good laughs and built, could improve if worked in better

Cross Channel Superman - 9/10 Excellent, and will improve.


Split up - 3/10 Needs work

Return of Brother - 6/10 Rhyming Slang and some lines very good, but whole thing loses it way halfway through, not satisfying conclusion. Needs work.
 - Captain America costume wasted

All By Myself song - 7/10 Good in parts, maybe needs editing. Piano and drums v good. 

Christmas Carol - hard to say as we only did parts, but 8/10 for the parts we did.

Fannying Around Xmas Song - 8/10 Good song, but do we have too much Christmas in the show?

And that was the end of the show. I am worried that I am possibly writing two different shows: A Christmas show and a Superheroes show, each of which has half a show's worth of good material. I may yet have to take the drastic step of separating them out into two shows, which means we'd have Christmas to do in a future year, but that means the weakest material, and the show with the most new writing still needed, is the Superheroes one. The Brother character has great room for expansion, and I want to see what I can do with him before the 2nd preview on Saturday. Whether I can replace much of the very good Xmas material by then I don't know. Let us see.



The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are Superheroes at The Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe from August 1st to 26th. 

Support their Kickstarter Campaign - no contribution too small

Previews:
Feb 17 & 24 6.50pm Kayal Leicester
Mar 14 & 15 8pm Dram Glasgow 
Mar 29 - Bath Comedy Festival
May 26 3.45pm & May 27 5pm Komedia Brighton
June 16 - Zion, Bristol
July 13 - Neath
 - with more preview dates to be announced


Dolls, Death and Doo Doo - a bumper week of comics by kids


It's half term and therefore a bumper week for Comic Art Masterclasses. From Monday to Friday I did classes somewhere in the country, with a fair bit of travelling involved. This also being the week of the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre' s first preview of their new show Superheroes, I also had lots of writing, music editing, and prop preparation to do in all the intervening moments. Yet, with so much going on, I found time to colour up the covers of the comics the kids in the classes produced. And, by golly, weren't these two from Baldock Arts & Heritage Centre a pair of corkers?


Two classes at Salisbury Art Centre were another pair of barnstormers, and earned me my first five star reviews. Admittedly only from pupils on the assessment forms that some places have them complete at the end of the session, but delightful all the same:

★★★★★ Kids really enjoyed the workshop - loved taking the comic home and have been pouring* over it all evening...

(*She means poring, but who's going to split hairs)



With sellouts at every other class this week (literally, they were turning them away everywhere from Bristol to Baldock, Salisbury to Erith) Wisbech was a slight disappointment as I found myself at the lovely Angles Theatre working with groups of only eight each time. We could have rolled them into one single group of 16 and they'd still only have been half the size of every other group this week. However it's an ill wind, and this cosy number meant I was able to devote more time to each pupil's work, and when it came to adding their doodles to the front cover, I was able to give those pride of place, as you can see with Pickle Rick. (Oh yeah, some people think the kids actually draw these covers. Of course they don't, I do. The kids come up with the titles. Then you see those small scrawls in the background of every cover? That's their bits.)


On Friday I rounded off the week with libraries in Bexleyheath and Erith, with the quickest opportunity to eat lunch on Erith pier. Who knew there was a pier sticking out into the Thames? Well there is, and pleasant enough it is too. Two more sellout classes were a fine way of rounding off a bumper week.



The week started at Zion Art & Community Centre in Bristol, which is a lovely small operation in a converted chapel on a hill. This was the only class of the week not to have a photocopier, so the kids went away with all the components, but without a finished printed comic. I did all their caricatures as per usual, then laid them out on the floor and photographed them, as you can see above. A fine record, I'm sure you'll agree.


The celebrities these nine groups chose to tread on a worm in my demonstration strip were Donald Trump (a dispiriting 6 times), Jon Bon Jovi, Johnny Depp, and Michael Jackson.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Comic Art Masterclasses open to the public:
March 17 - Prema Arts, Uley, Gloucs

Saturday, 17 February 2018

SUPERHEROES - the new show is revealed


Here, after a tantalising wait, is the title of the new Socks show for Edinburgh 2018 - Superheroes. It premieres in Leicester tonight and the name has now been revealed.

We would love every bit of help we can to take it to Edinburgh, so please please join our Kickstarter campaign. It's here at Kickstarter, and every contribution, however small, will help us make this year's show a great big biggie.


The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are Superheroes at The Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Fringe from August 1st to 26th. Before that you can see previews of the show at:
Feb 17 & 24 6.50pm Kayal Leicester
Mar 14 & 15 8pm Dram Glasgow 
Mar 29 - Bath Comedy Festival
May 26 3.45pm & May 27 5pm Komedia Brighton
June 16 - Zion, Bristol
July 13 - Neath

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Funky Monkey Donkey Dance - a week of comics by kids (& teachers)


This week's visits to schools with my Comic Art Masterclasses took me for the first time to Angmering. No, me neither. It's near Worthing. So Hev & I stayed over in Arundel, which is very pretty, in order that I could be there bright & early the next day. The Badge Monster is a riff on the fact that the kids were smothered in badges, up to 14 per child, which they seem to be awarded with a pathological fervour. My guess is that someone on the staff is related to a badge manufacturer.


This comic was the fruit of my afternoon session with NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) in Birmingham, a gig I do every year, and from which they seem to benefit. All part of me getting comics into schools however I can.




If it's Saturday, it must be Dungannon. And today I worked at the arts centre with the longest name yet - The Hill Of O'Neill And Ranfurly House Arts Centre. Crazy name, excellent building, with a couple of ruined towers standing atop a hill which has been home to a variety of houses and castles and, during the Troubles, a helicopter landing pad. Now there's a state of the art new building, with a very good exhibition telling the history of the town, a viewing tower, and some lovely conference rooms, one of which had my class in. There's also a dome for bigger events, and a visitor centre which I didn't see into. It's all happening in Dungannon.


I've drawn a few flipcharts over the last few weeks, few of them classics, but I don't want them to go unremembered, so here are a couple of fair to middling efforts.




The celebrities these five groups chose for my demonstration strips were Donald Trump (twice), Tom Cruise, Kim Kardashian, and Chris Pratt.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Friday, 9 February 2018

Socks Kickstarter is launched



For the first time, the Scottish Falsetto Socks have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the brand new 2018 show. I've no idea how it'll go, but fingers crossed we can make this year's show a great big biggie. The whole campaign is to be found here, and it's all below.

Lots of fab and fun incentives to be had, please spread the word, no contribution is too small.



Earth’s funniest footwear, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, return to the Edinburgh Fringe with their 10th all-new show, and with your help we want to make it the best ever, and bring it to a town near you afterwards.

Hello, we are the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

- And so am I -

- And so is he, and we’re hoping you’ve heard of us by now. We’ve been making people laugh on stage and screen for a decade now (our first Edinburgh show was in 2007). We know a few thousand of you follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and over 100,000 of you watched our videos online last year (the DUP one and a Doctor Who one did particularly well). Even better, about 2000 of you came to see our last Edinburgh show – Socks Do Shakespeare in 2016 – and even more came to see the show when it toured throughout 2017.

Socks Do Shakespeare was our most successful show, and the one we’re proudest of (though we hope you also liked Socks In Space, Minging Detectives, Boo Lingerie and all the rest), and we want 2018’s to be even better. We’re going to make a big splash in Edinburgh then tour the show around the country, possibly internationally. And we can do it, with your help.

Why are we going to Edinburgh?

The Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest showcase in the world. It’s where we attract some of our biggest, most enthusiastic audiences, and where we get seen by the promoters who book us for our subsequent tour dates. The chances of our show coming to a venue near you are based on the impact we make in Edinburgh. It’s also where we garner fabulous reviews, tempting more theatres to book us. And it’s where those lovely people from the TV get to see us, edging the Socks closer to the big audiences we know you’d like to be part of.

What do we want the money for?

Putting a show on at the Edinburgh Fringe gets that little bit more expensive every year. And, once we’ve paid for our venue hire (we’ve been invited to the prestigious Gilded Balloon for the tenth year running), our listing in the programmes, our accommodation, the tiniest bit of advertising, our posters, our flyers, and sundry other costs that you forget about until they’re upon you, even a small self-contained show like the Scottish Falsetto Socks doesn’t have any change from five thousand pounds. And we don’t see a penny of any profits till the Autumn.

Firstly, what’s the show called?

A good question, and one that we’ll be answering when it debuts in Leicester. But guess what – you’ll find out first! Yes, no matter how tiny the bit of help you’re able to give us, you’ll get the Top Secret Show Title revelation first. You’re welcome.

Secondly, what do you get?

Take a look at those rewards (on the right). We’ve put together some smashing things that you and you alone will get your hands on. We hope you’ll lap up a few of these priceless, exclusive goodies and help us make this show a great big biggie!

Thirdly

The astute Socks-followers among you might have noticed that a couple of our past shows (we’re thinking of 2015’s Minging Detectives and 2014’s And So Am I) suffered a little because – and we’re letting you into a bit of a behind-the-scenes trade secret here – in order to fund the show, Kev F (our star performer) was also running comic art classes in libraries in Edinburgh during the days. Which meant he had less time to devote to preparing and promoting the show and, on a couple of occasions, was in danger of losing his voice. Which, as you can imagine, is one thing the Scottish Falsetto Socks show can do without.

We’ve never asked for your money quite like this before. We just know we can prepare and run a better show with a little more financial support at the start. So, in order to devote maximum time to writing, preparing and running the best – and funniest – Socks show you’ve ever even dreamed of, we would be helped by every penny you’re able to cough up to stick in our coffers.

Loving you in anticipation

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

And so am I

And so is he

INCENTIVES

Pledge £10 or more

SUPPORT SOCKS

We’ll tweet and Facebook our thanks to you, and you get a credit on the Socks websites for as long as these things last

Pledge £20 or more

STRETCH SUPPORT SOCKS – BADGE AND POSTER

As well as the online thanks and credit above, we’ll send you a special Limited Edition “I Support The Socks” badge, and a limited edition signed Socks show poster. (So you can have it before Edinburgh, it will be from a previous Socks show, only a finite number of which were printed)

Pledge £30 or more

SHIRT ‘N’ SOCKS – BADGE, POSTER, T-SHIRT

A very special “I Support The Socks” t-shirt will be yours, as well as your Limited Edition “I Support The Socks” badge and a Socks show poster, +online credits etc.

Pledge £50 or more

SHIRT‘N’SOCKS PLUS WITH T-SHIRT & VIDEO

Inclusion in a special Socks video, mentioning our high-ranking Socks Supporters, will be yours, via Youtube. Plus you get the limited edition badge, t-shirt and poster, and the online goodies as above.

Pledge £150 or more

BESPOKE VIDEO STARS + T-SHIRT etc

Congratulations, you’ve just commissioned a Socks video uniquely for you, from your suggestions. Name the subject, namedrop anyone you like, send it as a gift or greeting, and we’ll turn you out a little something special. And, of course, you get the limited edition badge, t-shirt and a poster, and a mention in the Sock Supporters video, above.

Pledge £250 or more

SPECIAL GUEST STAR

Well done, Special Guest Star, you just got yourself mentioned in the show (we can’t guarantee in what context, but you’ll be in there every night). We’ll also produce a Bespoke Video for you (as above), with all the goodies available to all the other categories. The works, in short.

Pledge £500 or more

SPONSOR

From £500 you’re entitled to sponsorship rights. Your company logo will appear on all posters and flyers, as well as getting a mention in the show, and you’re entitled to every incentive above, from a Bespoke Video to the badges, posters, t-shirts et al. This won’t be sole sponsorship rights.

(If anyone wants to discuss serious commercial level sponsorship, up to and including exclusive sponsorship and advertising endorsement, we’ll need to talk separately, and before the conclusion of this Kickstarter. No sponsorship offer would exclude or supercede the offers being given to other supporters.)


Feb 17 & 24 6.50pm Kayal Leicester
Mar 14 & 15 8pm Dram Glasgow 
May 26 3.45pm & May 27 5pm Komedia Brighton

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Socks new show - the art takes shape


Having roughed out the look for the images for the new Socks 2018 show, I used the version above and put it into the teaser ads that you might have already seen. But I wasn't happy with it. So I went to a drastic extreme and drafted a line version, and asked Socks fans on Twitter and Facebook what they thought.


It's safe to say the outline version (which I hadn't intended using in black and white, but ran up the flagpole that way) was not as popular as the photo version. At one point it was 4 to 1 in favour of the photo. Added to which, a few people noted that the logo read as "Cock Puppet". So I added a bit more colour, and ran it past people in a couple of stages.



And we were starting to get there. (The logo of the show is still under wraps at this stage, hence the gap, and I haven't addressed the Cock Puppet issue yet). But still important points were being made about a cartoon version being likely to attract kids to the show. So finally I came up with the version that, at time of writing, is the one I'm going with.


It's the version I'm happy with. Now let's see what the world thinks shall we? Show not written, at time of blogging, with first Leicester show just 10 days away. Gulp.



(Yes, I must get making a new banner animation, mustn't I?)

Feb 17 & 24 6.50pm Kayal Leicester
Mar 14 & 15 8pm Dram Glasgow 
May 26 3.45pm & May 27 5pm Komedia Brighton

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Carrots, Cucumbers, Zombies - this week's comics by kids


A busy week in schools, with a lot of travelling, saw me delivering my Comic Art Masterclasses in Swansea, Rhos, Birmingham, and, in the instance above, a primary school in Chipping Campden which is in a bit of Gloucestershire so far over it's very nearly in Warwickshire. Between them the four groups over the two days I spent there came up with some very inspiring front cover ideas.


These were also from said school, namely St James & Ebrington, which has the bizarre distinction of being two different schools, in different villages with different postcodes a five mile drive apart, who maintain the conviction that they are in fact one school. I could never fathom why this is the case, it sounded like Orwellian Double Speak whenever any teacher tried to explain it. But they're two schools that are in fact one school. Go, as they say, figure.



St Josephs in Swansea had me back to teach their year 5s, and have the double distinction of not only being the first school to have already booked me for 2019, but also they were the first school this year to come up with a Donald Trump themed title for their comic. They won't be the last.


Mountain Movers is an organisation working with home-schooled kids for whom I did a one-off class in Rhos, in the South Wales valleys. The reason I've drawn that heavily-dressed kid on the cover is that, for reasons best known to themselves, a clump of the kids insisted on keeping their hoodies and hats on throughout the class, regardless of how warm it was. Home-schooled kids, with whom I've done a number of classes all round the country, are always an interesting bunch. The thing they have in common being their not being used to sitting still and listening. But child-control challenges aside, they did sterling work and were fun to teach.


Whizz Kids are another novel group, which I've worked with before and with whom I'll be working again over the coming months. The kids are all in wheelchairs, hence the name, and some have a variety of physical disabilities. All good to work with, though to be honest this wasn't the easiest class to run, by dint of it sharing an echoey sports hall with a Virtual Reality Gaming experience which the kids were taken out of the class at intervals to go and do, meaning that, for most of the session, I only had a third of the kids in my class together, and no single kid actually got the whole of the Comic Art Masterclass. Whatever, we managed to make a comic at the end of it all, and they had a fun afternoon.



The celebrities these eight groups chose for my demonstration strip were Donald Trump (four times!), Olly Murrs, Simon Cowell, Declan Donnelly, and Ronaldo.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

Comic Art Masterclasses open to the public:
Feb 12 - Zion Bristol
Feb 13 - Salisbury Arts
Feb 14 - Baldocks Arts & Heritage Centre, Herts
Feb 15 - Angles Theatre, Wisbech
Feb 16 - Bexleyheath & Erith Libraries
March 17 - Prema Arts, Uley, Gloucs
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