This is a silent film screening, a concert, an experiment and lunch, all rolled into one. Not So Silent Movies will happen on the first Sunday of every month at the Kings Place arts centre in Kings Cross. It’s the brainchild of composer and cellist Philip Sheppard and puts a range of leading musicians to the ultimate test of their improvisational skills – accompanying silent films. The films will be a complete surprise to the musicians, who will have had no opportunity to watch the movies in advance, or heaven forfend, rehearse. This is what Sheppard says about the project:
‘I love throwing caution to the wind and creating a spontaneous composition, and I have absolute confidence that these musicians can pull it off. There’ll be as much slap-stick on stage as on screen; we get such a buzz from taking the risk with no safety net – it’s the adrenalin that makes it work, and when it’s over you can’t repeat it – it’s a one off!’
The choice of films will be a surprise for the audience too, of course. But a little bird tells me we can expect plenty of Buster Keaton (from the shorts to the features), some Harold Lloyd, maybe even some Chaplins in the future. Sheppard is huge fan of silent comedy and keen to show a broad range of films. He has something very special planned for Christmas, too, hopefully involving a special guest. But he’s keen to hear suggestions from Silent London readers. So if you want to nominate some silent comedies that you would like to see with a spontaneous score, comment below.
The roster of musicians involved is very impressive, and changes from month to month. Here are the line-ups for the first three Sundays.
Sunday 2 October:
Guy Pratt bass (Pink Floyd & Roxy Music)
Geoff Dugmore drums
Philip Sheppard cello
Elspeth Hanson violin (Bond)
Pip Eastop horn (London Sinfonietta)
Mark Neary pedal steel guitar
Sunday 6 November:
Dame Evelyn Glennie OBE percussion
Sunday 4 December:
Roger Eno piano
Robin Millar CBE guitarist/star producer
Steve Mackey bass player, Pulp
Not So Silent Movies takes place on the first Sunday of every month in Hall Two of Kings Place. Tickets cost £9.50-£12.50, or £29.50 with Sunday lunch and a bloody mary at the Rotunda restaurant included. Find out more here.
Which silent comedies would you like to see shown at Not So Silent Movies? Please leave your comments below.