Ritzy to host ‘Silent Slapstick’ with music from Brixton Chamber Orchestra

Brixton Chamber Orchestra and the Ritzy cinema are getting together once again to add live music to classic film.

They promise “a night of side-splitting laughter and captivating live music” on Thursday 2 November with Film Orchestrated: Silent Slapsticks.

It follows the resounding success last year of BCO’s Halloween screening of Dreyer’s Vampyr and Disney’s Skeleton Dance.

The 15-piece orchestra will this year breathe new life into timeless sketches from comedy legends including Lambeth resident Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and René Clair’s surreal masterpiece, Entr’acte, will be screened with its original Erik Satie soundtrack.

“What sets this event apart is the unique blend of historical soundtracks, live improvisation, and new compositions created especially for the evening, ensuring a one-of-a-kind experience for the audience,” Brixton Chamber Orchestra (BCO) said.

As a bonus, comedian Darran Griffiths will compere the evening, and every ticket includes a complimentary can from Brixton Brewery.

Brixton Chamber Orchestra
Brixton Chamber Orchestra director Matthew O‘Keeffe (foreground)

“I’m so excited to bring these magical shorts together in such a unique programme,” said Matthew O’Keeffe, the orchestra’s artistic director.

“It’s rare to find these on the big screen, and basically unheard of to accompany them orchestrally.

“I wanted to use a range of approaches to soundtracking these.

“We’ve tracked down the orchestrated version of Erik Satie’s original music for Rene Claire’s Entr’acte, which is almost as nonsensical as the film.

“Misha – our bassist – and I are composing new scores for two absolute gems by Keaton and Chaplin. And we’re going to do some group improvising too!

“We’ve created a reel of very early clips from 1890 to 1915 containing definitive gags which are developed right through the rest of the programme, and which live on as classic cinematic tropes today.”

BCis a registered charity dedicated to bringing thrilling live orchestral experiences to diverse audiences in Brixton and beyond. 

Its innovative collaborations include grime, gospel and other modern genres performed in markets, pubs, clubs, parks, churches, and community centres.

Both professionals and talented volunteers play in the unique “two-tier” orchestra that embodies the spirit of Brixton by celebrating local talent and cultural diversity.

Orchestrated: Silent Slapsticks
Thursday, 2 November 2, 2023
Ritzy Cinema, Brixton

Buy Tickets


Overture: The Dance of the Comedians – Smetana

Scrolling (Compilation of early shorts)
With improvised soundtrack from the BCO

Behind the Screen – Charlie Chaplin
With a new soundtrack by Misha Mulov-Abbado

Entr’Acte – René Clair
With the original soundtrack by Erik Satie

Cops – Buster Keaton
With a new soundtrack by Matthew O’Keeffe